Metabolic syndrome includes conditions like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal triglyceride and cholesterol levels. More than 30% of adults in the United States meet the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome.
This condition increases a person’s risk for type II diabetes, heart attack, and stroke, and also accelerates the aging process.
Insulin resistance is the common factor underlying metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes. It is also likely that insulin resistance plays a role in increasing a person’s risk of cancer.
Insulin is a hormone that turns food into energy and controls blood sugar. Insulin moves glucose (sugar) into cells, which use it for energy. Insulin resistance occurs when cells in muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose from the blood for energy. In an attempt to compensate for this problem, which is also known as insulin receptor dysfunction, the pancreas makes more insulin. This causes blood sugar levels to rise and can lead to type II diabetes.
Most people who have metabolic syndrome also have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance precedes pre-diabetes and diabetes by many years.