The Metabolic Syndrome
There is no official definition for “the metabolic syndrome,” and different health groups and agencies offer different version of their own criteria for it. All versions, however, recognize that obesity–especially abdominal obesity–is associated with insulin resistance. Even worse, the very concept of the metabolic syndrome came about because of the proven relationship among the following conditions:
Insulin resistance means that one’s tissues resist the effects of insulin, creating a relative deficiency called Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (DM). Ineffective insulin stimulates the release of even more ineffective insulin while allowing hyperglycemia.
Complications of Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance leads to inflammation and damage to blood vessels, abnormal lipids (“dyslipidemia”), and hypertension, all of which increase the likelihood of suffering a cardiovascular disease (CVD) event–that is, a heart attack or a stroke. It is felt that these conditions that increase CVD risk are not complications per se, but co-morbidities intimately part of the syndrome.
Risks for Type 2 DM, heart attack (myocardial infarction), angina, and cerebrovascular accidents (stroke) rise for those with the metabolic syndrome.
Relationship with Diabetes
Whether the metabolic syndrome’s insulin resistance contributes to chronic hyperglycemia or whether actual diabetes started processes that make the metabolic syndrome more likely, the end result for both scenarios is increased risk for a CVD event.