Wellness Matters: What is metabolic syndrome and how is it diagnosed?

By Sammie Stephens Sep 8, 2015

Metabolic Syndrome is not a disease itself, but indicates a significantly increased risk of heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes. 

According to the American Heart Association, metabolic syndrome is determined by having three or more of the following components:

  • Central or abdominal obesity– For men, this is determined by a waist circumference of 40 inches or more, and 35 inches or more for women.
  • Triglycerides – Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. Elevated levels can indicate an increased risk of heart disease. Triglyceride levels are considered high if they are greater than or equal to 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL).
  • Low HDL cholesterol -- High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol helps protect you against stroke and heart attack. If it is too low, you are not getting adequate protection. An HDL level of 40 mg/dL or less is considered low.
  • High blood pressure – This number is usually presented as two numbers (such as 120/68). The top number is the systolic blood pressure, a reading of the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts. The bottom number shows the pressure in your arteries between heart beats. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to several diseases including heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. High blood pressure is defined as a reading of 130/85 (mmHg) or greater.
  • High fasting glucose – Within the normal range, blood sugar (or glucose) provides fuel for your body. However, if it is too high, it can indicate pre-diabetes or diabetes. A fasting glucose level of 100 mg/dL or higher is considered high.

Caring for our employees

Each year, during the annual employee biometric screening, several Wyoming Medical Center employees are identified as having Metabolic Syndrome. In January 2016, the Wellness/Employee Health department will offer a comprehensive wellness coaching program for employees who have metabolic syndrome. Watch for more information about this new program in the fall.

Sammie Stephens

Wellness Matters columns are submitted by the Wyoming Medical Center Employee Wellness Committee, focused on improving the health and wellness of WMC employees and their families. Sammie Stephens, RN, CWC, is an employee health nurse at Wyoming Medical Center and a Wellness Committee member.

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