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What is metabolic syndrome?

Having three or more of the health conditions below can put you at risk for MetS:

  • An increased amount of fat around your waist or midsection
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Low HDL (good) cholesterol level
  • High fasting blood sugar level

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is also known as metabolic syndrome X or insulin resistance syndrome. The following health issues are commonly associated with MetS: heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Early stages of MetS and diabetes have been found in people with an increased amount of fat around the waist and midsection. Excess fat in the midsection can release certain chemicals and hormones that can affect cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

What increases the risk of developing MetS? The risks of developing MetS are related to certain lifestyle habits and other risk factors.

Lifestyle factors:

  • Poor diet habits: high-fat, ultra-processed foods and large portion sizes
  • Lack of physical activity or sedentary lifestyle behaviors
  • Stress and elevated cortisol levels
  • Sleep disturbance, lack of sleep, or inadequate sleep or rest
  • Alcohol and tobacco use

Other risk factors:

  • Age: Risks increase as people get older.
  • Sex: In older adults women have a higher risk than men.
  • Family history: Parents, brothers, or sisters with a health history of diabetes can increase your risk.
  • Race/Ethnicity: MetS is common in all racial groups, but highest among Mexican Americans, followed by Whites and Blacks.
  • Other health issues include a history of diabetes, insulin resistance, immune disorders, inflammation, cancer treatments, sleep apnea, and certain medications that can lead to excess weight.

Treatment for MetS: Includes healthy lifestyle changes to reduce the health risks related to MetS.

  • Follow a heart-healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly. *Caution: Always check with a health care provider before starting an exercise routine, especially if you have a health history of heart disease, breathing trouble, or lung disease.
  • Get the proper amount of sleep: Average adults require 7–9 hours of sleep.
  • Stop smoking and reduce alcohol intake.
  • Reduce stress through stress management or mindfulness.
  • Have routine physical exams with your doctor.

For more information on metabolic syndrome, email contactknovasolutions@workpartners.com or call 1-800-355-0885. We are available Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.



  • Metabolic syndrome. National Institute of Health (NIH). National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. Published January 2020. Accessed May 2023. medlineplus.gov/metabolicsyndrome.html
  • Metabolic Syndrome, What Is Metabolic Syndrome. National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute. Metabolic Syndrome, What Is Metabolic Syndrome. Published May 2022. Accessed May 2023. nhlbi.nih.gov/health/ metabolic-syndrome