What is the Metabolic Syndrome X ?
This is the name given to a particular cluster of the most dangerous health risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus type 2, which was first identified in 1988 by Gerald Reaven, a Stanford University endocrinologist, in a lecture to the American Diabetes Association (Reaven, 2000). It is also called Insulin Resistance Syndrome
It is characterized by the presence of Obesity and Insulin Resistance, a reduced responsiveness of the body tissues to the important hormone Insulin. Additionally, MSX is associated with high blood pressure and two problems with body fats in our body, namely : high blood levels of triglycerides and low blood levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL). Having Metabolic Syndrome X multiplies by 5 times the individual's chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes and multiplies by 2 times the chance of developing coronary heart disease.
This condition has become a major public health threat in the United States, as close to one in every four (25%) adults in our country have it, as a direct consequence of two elements that deteriorate our health : Obesity and lack of physical activity. As stated before, researchers establish that close to an astounding 50% of all obese children in the USA have ChiMeSyX by the ages of 12 to 14 .
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) (as per their institutional definition in 2005), the Metabolic Syndrome X includes :
Waist circumference >94 cm (>37 in) in men, >80 cm (>31.5 in) in women
And at least two of the following :
o Blood triglycerides >150 mg/dl (or on triglyceride-lowering medication)
• Low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL)
o Blood HDL-C <40 mg/dl in men, <50 mg/dl in women
• High blood pressure
o BP >130/85 mm Hg or already diagnosed with hypertension
• High fasting glucose
o Blood glucose >100 mg/dl or already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
Note : Some studies have shown that the use of the IDF criteria misses identifying a small percentage (5–7%) of people (specifically, people without a large waist size) who will go on to develop atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
Dr. Augusto Agostini
Ph. D. in Nutrition