Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X)
Metabolic Syndrome symptoms significantly increase the chances
of developing Cardiovascular Disease, which, if neglected, can
lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Having three or more symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome raises the
risk of coronary death, according to a recent study in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association (1). Even
one or two symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome increases the danger
of dying from Cardiovascular Disease.
Also known as Syndrome X, Metabolic Syndrome is characterized by a group of risk factors
for damage to the cardiovascular system. They include excessive
fat tissue in and around the abdomen, blood-fat disorders, the
imbalance of blood glucose and insulin called Insulin Resistance
and hypertension (high blood pressure). An underlying cause of
Metabolic Syndrome can be Insulin Resistance-related obesity
caused by poor diet and lack of regular exercise.
Researchers compared the risk of death among men and women with
a cluster of abnormalities symptomatic of Metabolic Syndrome to
the risk faced by patients with existing Cardiovascular Disease
and Pre- and Type 2 Diabetes and people without Metabolic
Syndrome, Cardiovascular Disease or Diabetes.
"It is particularly interesting that patients with even one or
two Metabolic Syndrome traits, or those with Metabolic Syndrome
but without Diabetes, were at increased risk for death from
coronary heart disease and cardiovascular diseases," said Nathan
D. Wong, professor and director of the Heart Disease Prevention
Program, Division of Cardiology at the University of California.
Researchers reviewed data from 6,255 patients who participated
in the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES
2) from 1976 through 1980 and whose causes of death were
documented. They ranged in age from 30-75 and 54% were women.
In this study, a person was diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome if
three or more of these characteristics were found:
A BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 kg/m² or greater, which is
classed as obesity
HDL "good" cholesterol less than 40 mg/dL if
male or less than 50 mg/dL if female
Triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 mg/dL if fasting or
greater than or equal to 400 mg/dL if not fasting
Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85 mmHg or if the
patient was on anti-hypertension (high blood
Glucose greater than or equal to 110 mg/dL if fasting or
two-hour post-load glucose greater than or equal to 140 mg/dL
Overall, 26% of participants had Metabolic Syndrome and 19.8%
had pre-existing Cardiovascular Disease, meaning they reported
that a physician had diagnosed them as having coronary heart
disease, heart failure, stroke or other cardiac disease. The
remaining 54% did not have Metabolic Syndrome, Pre- or Type 2
Diabetes or Cardiovascular Disease.
Compared to people with no Metabolic Syndrome factors, the risk
of death from coronary heart disease or forms of Cardiovascular
Disease was twice as high for those with one to two symptoms of
Metabolic Syndrome and 3.5 times higher for people with
full-blown Metabolic Syndrome (three or more symptoms).
And in contrast to those participants with neither Metabolic Syndrome,
Pre- or Type 2 Diabetes nor Cardiovascular Disease, patients
with Metabolic Syndrome but no Diabetes had a 65% greater risk
of death from coronary heart disease. Those with Diabetes had a
2.9 times greater risk. Risk of death for those with
pre-existing Cardiovascular Disease alone were 4.2 times higher
and for participants with combined Diabetes and Cardiovascular
Disease the figure was 6.5 times higher.
"The study emphasizes the importance of close risk-factor
monitoring and management, particularly blood pressure and
dyslipidemia (abnormal levels of blood fats), which are common
in those with Metabolic Syndrome," said Dr. Wong.
He added that the findings showing the highest death risk among
those with both Diabetes and pre-existing Cardiovascular Disease
support the recently released revision of the National
Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III
guidelines for lipid management. The guidelines have placed these
people in the "very high risk" category, warranting aggressive
"We recommend physicians provide adequate resources for their
patients with Metabolic Syndrome to improve compliance to diet
and exercise regimens," added Dr Wong. "Many physicians who may
not have the time to counsel a patient for an hour on diet or
exercise do not refer to a registered dietitian or exercise
specialist when they should."
"More attention to the medical management of elevated risk
factors is essential to prevent Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes and
their complications, " he added.
Insulin Resistance-linked obesity is an underlying cause of
Metabolic Syndrome. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and
released into the circulatory system where it is crucial to the
absorption of glucose by the body's cells. If the cells resist
insulin, then both insulin and glucose build up in your blood.
Excess insulin leads to weight gain and high blood pressure —
both precursors to Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular
As insulin comes in contact with the interior wall of the
arteries, it damages the tissue, causing the initial injury that
produces plaque. Therefore, having Insulin Resistance and
Metabolic Syndrome directly cause changes in the blood lipids
and overall cardiovascular health that contribute to the
formation of heart disease.
Recommendations for reducing the risk of damage to the
cardiovascular system are the same as those for reducing Insulin
Resistance, namely decreasing insulin, balancing cholesterol and
lowering blood pressure. Action centers around managing
Metabolic Syndrome to minimize the harmful effect of current
symptoms and prevent or at least delay the worsening of
underlying conditions that can lead to heart disease. This can
be done through careful food choices, including a balanced,
nutritious diet, exercise and weight loss in overweight
But there is no one "magic" pill to reverse Metabolic Syndrome.
To address all the symptoms, we feel a complete system is required which
includes nutraceuticals (vitamins, herbs and minerals that are
disease specific), a realistic exercise program combined with
nutritional guidance, guidance on carbobohydrate addiction awareness and a support network that will help you
change unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Click here to read about the unique, new Insulite MetaX System, which
is scientifically-designed to help reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure (hypertension)
by balancing glucose and insulin levels. Among the Insulite
MetaX System formulations is one called InsulX that
includes alpha lipoic acid, which increases insulin
insensitivity and lowers glucose levels.
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"Researchers agree that insulin
resistance is central to the metabolic syndrome. When target
cells are unresponsive to insulin, the pancreas responds by
pouring even more insulin into the bloodstream, leading to high
levels of the hormone in the blood, a condition called
compensatory hyperinsulinemia. The high level of insulin in the
blood forces glucose into cells but also starts the events
leading to arterial damage and eventually a heart attack. Under
these conditions, a person may not manifest either diabetes or
heart disease but could well be on the way to either or both."
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Stuarts Draft, VA
"Simply losing 5-7% of your body fat (typically 10-15 pounds) and increasing your physical activity by taking a brisk walk 4-5 times a week can reduce your risk of developing Type
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"A non-pharmacologic treatment for these
patients is needed, since drugs prescribed to lower blood
pressure have been shown to actually worsen carbohydrate and
lipid metabolism in Syndrome X patients, negating the beneficial
effects of those drugs."
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"...approximately 90% of
overweight Hispanic children with a family history for type 2 diabetes have at least one
feature of the metabolic syndrome and 30% possess the metabolic syndrome.
Our results support the view that improving insulin resistance may be crucial in the prevention
of both type 2 diabetes and premature cardiovascular disease in this at-risk subpopulation
of Hispanic youth."