Living with diabetes series

Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X in Diabetes

Risk factors, symtpoms, complications for metabolic syndrome and how to manage it


Syndrome X or metabolic syndrome or Insulin resistance syndrome is related to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases. Metabolic syndrome is quite common and mostly found in those with type 2 diabetes, poor blood sugar control, or kidney disease. It manifests itself through one or more risk factors that include obesity and insulin resistance.

Whare are the risk factors for metabolic syndrome?

These are:

  • Obesity, showing up as excess fat in and around the abdomen
  • Insulin resistance or intolerance to glucose where the body is unable to use blood sugar or insulin
  • High levels of C-reactive protein in the blood
  • High amounts of fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in the blood
  • Blood fat disorders where good cholesterol levels are low and bad cholesterol levels are high

What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?

Some of the signs of metabolic syndrome are:

  • Fatigue, especially after meals
  • Inability to focus
  • The browning of folds of skin around the neck, armpits, groin, and between the buttocks.

The most common signs are abdominal obesity and insulin resistance.

How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?

When at least three of the following signs are present, metabolic syndrome is likely.

  • Unusually large waist circumference
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting glucose levels

Inflammation can also be a factor in metabolic syndrome because it is linked to the development of artery damage known as atherosclerosis. Inflammation can show up externally or internally.

The complications of metabolic syndrome

The complications of metabolic syndrome are often serious and long-term and include:

  • hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • diabetes
  • heart attack
  • kidney disease
  • stroke
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • peripheral artery disease
  • cardiovascular disease

If diabetes develops, there is a likelihood of additional health complications including the amputation of limbs.

Testing for insulin resistance and blood sugar levels is the first step. An OGTT or Oral Glucose Tolerance Test may be prescribed.

How to manage metabolic syndrome?

Ideally, the diagnosis must be made early so that the chances of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced. Ignoring it can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

If diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, treatment will focus on reducing the possibilities of developing further health complications.

The best way to do this is by managing diabetes effectively and keeping blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity under control. Regular exercise and proper diet can help. Some lifestyle changes that help include:

  • Weight loss to reach the ideal goal weight targeting a BMI goal of 25 kg/m2 or less
  • Quitting smoking
  • Stepping up physical activity that includes at least 30 minutes of exercise per day
  • A balanced nutritious diet that minimizes the use of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.

Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, and also reduce the probability of stroke and heart attack.

Stay healthy!

Disclaimer: The information in this post is purely for educational purposes only and does not substitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your physician for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.

Vidya Sury Collecting Smiles ❤ Did you smile today?

I love Medium and the wonderful writers I engage with. One of the reasons I write is to support underprivileged children. Currently, the Medium Partner Program is not open to writers based in India. Would you consider buying me a cup of coffee? Thank you so much!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles

Writing about Self Improvement, Mindfulness, Meditation, Parenting, Health, Travel, Life, Books. Showing my diabetes who’s boss. Visit: