Metabolic syndrome is the medical term for the combination of factors which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. They include increased abdominal girth (excessive abdominal fat), elevated blood sugar levels, raised blood pressure and elevated cholesterol values.
The individual values are usually only marginally elevated. The blood sugar levels are possibly not sufficient for the diagnosis of diabetes. On the other hand, the combination of the different elevated levels is associated with a markedly elevated risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke. Therefore, metabolic syndrome is viewed as a clinical picture in its own right. Abdominal girth plays a central role in the process. Studies have shown that increased abdominal girth is a significant risk factor, independent of whether the patient is overweight, or not. Fat which collects in the abdomen seems to be particularly hazardous to the health. It also leads to what is known as the apple-shaped figure. Doctors call this trunk-accented obesity. On the other hand, the collection of fat on the buttocks and the hips, known as the pear form, seems to be less harmful to the health.
Besides "marginally" elevated blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol values, the abdominal girth must be more than 88 centimetres in women and more than 104 centimetres in men to diagnose metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a metabolic disorder in which the fat and sugar metabolism are affected. The disease can therefore also be considered to be the precursor to diabetes mellitus.
A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet has a preventative effect; however, it can also be recommended as a treatment if the patient has already developed metabolic syndrome. If a change in lifestyle is insufficient, medications to lower the blood sugar, the blood pressure and the cholesterol are used.
If arteriosclerosis-type changes have already taken place in the blood vessels, constrictions in the cardiac arteries or in the leg arteries can be surgically treated. Please refer to the surgery on the coronary arteries and endartectomy sections for more information.
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