Metabolic Syndrome Increases Risks for Other Disease

Some doctors call this the “most common condition you’ve never heard of.” It affects almost 50 million Americans, yet many of them don’t know it. Metabolic syndrome isn’t just one condition; it’s a combination of problems. You have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of the following:

  • high blood pressure
  • excess belly fat, meaning a waist size of 40 inches or more for men, or 35 inches or more for women
  • high triglycerides, a kind of blood fat often checked with cholesterol levels
  • low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • high fasting blood sugar.

Metabolic syndrome puts you at greater risk for a host of other problems, including stroke, diabetes, and fatal heart attack. A study published in the journal Neurology in 2011 suggests that memory loss can also be added to that list. The observational study found that of the 7,087 French people who took part, about 16% had metabolic syndrome. Over the four years of the study, the people took several memory tests, and those who had metabolic syndrome were 20% more likely than others to have a decline in overall memory. The people with metabolic syndrome were also much more likely to have a declining memory if they had one of three specific problems found on the metabolic syndrome list, namely, diabetes, high triglyceride levels, or a low HDL level.



  • About PEC

    The Patient Education Center provides multimedia access to reliable and relevant medical information at and beyond the point of care. Our content is developed exclusively by Harvard Health Publications, the media and publishing division of the Harvard Medical School of Harvard University, and distributed by Health Media Network.