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You're gaining weight around the middle, your blood pressure is higher than normal, your blood sugar is creeping upwards...just signs of aging? No – these are signs of a serious metabolic disorder that can have significant life consequences.
Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors linked to overweight and obesity. These risk factors include:
1. Fat "around the middle", also known as abdominal obesity. This type of fat is a greater risk than fat found elsewhere on the body
2. Higher than normal blood pressure
3. Higher than normal blood sugar - an early warning sign for diabetes
4. Elevated triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood)
5. Low HDL, the so-called "good" cholesterol
If you have at least 3 of these 5 risk factors, you have metabolic syndrome, and have a significant increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
So what can you do? The best things you can do are lose weight, eat better, and get active. Pretty simple advice, although many people find it very difficult to put this into practice.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health have suggested that in the future, metabolic syndrome may surpass smoking as the top risk factor for heart disease. We all know how bad smoking is for you - so why are we not doing more to combat the obesity epidemic?