Metabolic Syndrome Increases Risk for Major Cardiovascular Diseases

More than one third of Americans have the preventable, treatable condition

  Moronell HSDAYTON, Ohio (January 13, 2015) – Poor eating habits and lack of daily exercise has given rise to a condition known as metabolic syndrome in more than a third of all Americans.

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of five health issues, of which a person needs to possess three in order to be diagnosed with the condition. These conditions include high blood pressure, high fasting glucose, low HDL or good cholesterol, excess fat around the belly and high triglycerides or blood fat, said Mark Moronell, MD, a cardiologist with Miami Valley Cardiologists. Still, the American Heart Association Off Site Icon  (AHA) stresses the importance of having any one of the health conditions that make up metabolic syndrome evaluated by an individual’s physician.

“Metabolic syndrome is a disease of the way the body uses and stores its energy,” said Dr. Moronell, a Premier Health Specialist physician. “We all run on glucose, that’s our fuel, that’s our gasoline. People who have metabolic syndrome are not able to use glucose effectively. They either store it incorrectly so that they have too much or they are unable to use it efficiently.”

Those who are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome have a two-fold increased risk for heart attack and stroke, according to the AHA. The condition also increases one’s risk for other cardiovascular conditions including diseases related to fatty buildups in the artery walls, such as peripheral vascular disease. Metabolic syndrome also increases the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

There are no specific symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Instead, one can have symptoms for the five things that make up the condition.

“So, for example, if you have extra weight, you may develop sleep apnea,” Dr. Moronell said. “If you are a male you may develop erectile dysfunction and if you are woman, a common condition can be polycystic ovary disease.”

The most common way individuals develop metabolic syndrome is by having an unhealthy diet, overeating or not exercising. Metabolic syndrome individuals develop metabolic syndrome is by having an unhealthy diet, overeating or not exercising. Metabolic syndrome is often preventable since the main cause is lifestyle related, Dr. Moronell said.

“One of the best ways to avoid metabolic syndrome is to be active,” he said. “Activity can be as simple as taking a 30-minute walk every day or shying away from starchy and processed foods, and keeping your alcohol intake down.”

A metabolic syndrome diagnosis is important because it can serve as a catalyst to healthier choices. It can also help an individual take a more serious look at getting health issues such as weight or blood pressure under control. The good news is that a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome does not have to stay with a person for life. Dr. Moronell has witnessed many success stories among patients who have made lifestyle changes and significantly changed the trajectory of their long-term health.

The AHA outlines specific steps people can take to reduce their risk for metabolic syndrome:

  • Eat Better – Avoid processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and are high in salt and added sugar. Instead eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish.
  • Be Active – Incorporate 150 minutes of moderately vigorous activity into your weekly routine. This can include any exercise routine, such as walking, that can elevate the heart rate.
  • Lose Weight – Learn your recommended calorie intake, the amount of food calories you are consuming, and the energy calories you’re burning off with different levels of physical activity.
  • Take Medication – Medication may be needed to help control blood pressure, cholesterol and other symptoms when lifestyle changes don’t do it. Faithfully take the medication to reduce the risk of long-term consequences of metabolic syndrome.

“I think people need to know that metabolic syndrome is not a death sentence,” Dr. Moronell said. “But it is an indicator. It’s a shot across your bow that, hey, you have a collection of problems that are stacking up over time that can affect the longevity and quality of your life. So, it is something that people really need to try to focus on and work to get under control before it really becomes a problem.”

To learn more about metabolic syndrome or to find a physician, visit

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