Metabolic syndrome describes a constellation of medical conditions which increase the risk for several health problems, primarily cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver.These conditions include insulin resistance (considered the main risk factor), hypertension, dyslipidemia, and abdominal obesity. The primary goal in treating metabolic syndrome is therefore to initiate lifestyle changes, which include dietary modifications and physical exercise. These measures often result in lowered blood pressure and triglyceride levels, as well as increased insulin sensitivity. Symptoms that do not respond sufficiently to these changes, such as persistent hypertension or hyperglycemia, are treated with drugs (e.g., ACE inhibitors, metformin).
- Presence of ≥ 3 of the following conditions (or already receiving medical treatment for them)
|Weight Status||Body Mass Index (BMI)|
|Normal or Healthy Weight||18.5–24.9|
|Class I Obesity||30–34.9|
|Class II Obesity||35–39.9|
|Class III Obesity||≥ 40|
Morbid obesity is diagnosed when the patients meet ≥ 1 of the following criteria:
- ≥100 pounds over the ideal body weight
- BMI ≥ 40
- BMI ≥ 35 and health conditions related to obesity (e.g., hypertension, diabetes)
First-line: lifestyle modifications
- Dietary changes: calorie restriction, healthy foods (e.g., fruit/vegetables, protein-rich, unsaturated fats, sodium-restricted)
- Physical activity: minimum of 30 minutes moderate exercise per day (2.5 hours per week) , which increases insulin sensitivity, lowers blood pressure, and promotes weight loss
- Medical therapy: treat (e.g., ACE inhibitors), , and dyslipidemia (e.g., with )
- Bariatric surgery: if BMI ≥ 40 and no success with dietary and lifestyle changes
Metabolic syndrome is associated with increased risk of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- ; → ↑ risk of developing liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma
- Portal vein thrombosis 
We list the most important complications. The selection is not exhaustive.
Interested in the newest medical research, distilled down to just one minute? Sign up for the One-Minute Telegram in “Tips and links” below.