People can take several measures to correct the health conditions that contribute to metabolic syndrome and these are described below.
Examples of the lifestyle changes people can make include losing excess fat and maintaining a healthy body weight. This can reduce blood pressure, insulin resistance and the risk of diabetes developing. People with metabolic syndrome or who are at risk of the condition should follow a healthy diet that is low in calories, trans-fatty acids, saturated fats, cholesterol and salt. The diet should be rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish.
To maintain a healthy weight, doctors also recommend engaging in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes of moderate vigorous activity every week.
Overweight and obesity are defined as body mass indexes of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 and 30 kg/m2 or more, respectively. Abdominal obesity is defined as a waist circumference of 102 cm (40 inches) or more in men and 88 cm (35 inches) or more in women. A realistic goal for weight reduction is to reduce body weight by around 7-10% over a period of 6 months to a year.
People with risk factors for metabolic syndrome should adhere to their medication regime for conditions such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
- High blood pressure can be controlled with the use of diuretics or ACE inhibitors such as enalapril.
- Examples of cholesterol-lowering drugs include statins and fibrates. As well as lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels, these drugs can also raise the level of good cholesterol or high-density lipoproteins (HDLs).
- Blood sugar can be controlled using agents such as metformin and pioglitazone. These agents also decrease the likelihood of insulin resistance developing.
- Another feature of metabolic syndrome is a high coagulant state or abnormal blood clotting and this can be treated with low-dose aspirin or clopidogrel.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc