Metabolic Syndrome is defined by five risk factors. According to the American Heart Association, when someone has at least 3 out of the 5 factors that contribute to Metabolic Syndrome, he or she has a much higher chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other health problems. For example, a person with Metabolic Syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as a person who does not have it.*
Glucose is the chief source of energy for your body, and is often called “blood sugar.” A glucose test measures the concentration of glucose in your blood at the time of the test, and is used to ensure that your body is breaking down sugars correctly after eating, and you aren’t at risk for type 2 diabetes. Having a consistently out-of-range glucose level indicates a heightened risk for diabetes and other health problems such as hyperthyroidism or liver dise
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, commonly called “good cholesterol,” is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, and many doctors use HDL cholesterol levels to predict lifetime risk of a heart attack or stroke. HDL cholesterol also works to remove LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol) from the arteries by transporting it to the to the liver, where it can be broken down.
A hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test reflects the average concentration of glucose (sugar) in blood over the previous 2-3 months. The test measures the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin (the protein present in red blood cells that carry oxygen) and is reported as a percentage of total hemoglobin. Having a consistently high HbA1c level indicates either type 2 diabetes or a heightened risk for developing diabetes (prediabetes).
Triglycerides are the chemical form of fats existing in food, as well as in the body. Calories that are not immediately needed by the body are converted into triglycerides and stored in the body’s fat cells for later use. Triglycerides combine with proteins to form particles called lipoproteins, that transport fat through the bloodstream. When energy is needed in a certain part of the body, lipoproteins carry triglycerides to that location. After use, lipoproteins also carry triglycerides to the liver, where they can be removed from the body.
Blood pressure is the measurement of the “force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood.” Blood pressure changes with mood and physical changes (such as nervousness, excitement, or engaging in exercise) but should fall back to baseline once the stimulus or activity stops.