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A to Z: Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of separate health problems that often happen together in a person. People who have metabolic syndrome have a higher chance of developing certain diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

More to Know

Metabolic syndrome isn't a disease on its own, but it is an early warning system that someone might get heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or other illnesses. When people know they have metabolic syndrome, they can take steps to lessen their chance of getting these diseases. Most people with metabolic syndrome have insulin resistance, a condition where the body doesn't respond to the hormone insulin as well as it should.

Metabolic syndrome means someone has at least three (or all) of these problems:

  • too much belly fat
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • abnormal levels of blood fats (lipids), including cholesterol and triglycerides
  • high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)

People who are overweight or inactive have a higher chance of getting metabolic syndrome. Exercising, eating the right amount of healthy food, and taking medicine if needed can help prevent or decrease the severity of many of the related health problems.  

Keep in Mind

It can be easier for kids and teens to make changes if the whole family eats healthy and stays active. One person can set an example for another, creating a good support system.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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