Symptoms and Diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome

Updated:Mar 13,2014

Senior Woman With DaughterWhat are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?

Because metabolic syndrome is a cluster of factors, many of which must be determined with lab work, this condition is not one that an individual can assess without the help of a healthcare provider. However, if you have a large waist circumference and have been told by your healthcare provider that you have another condition like elevated triglycerides, high blood sugar or high blood pressure, you may want to discuss your combined risks with your healthcare provider.

How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?

To diagnose metabolic syndrome, most doctors look for the presence of three or more of these components:

  • Central or abdominal obesity (measured by waist circumference):
    • Men - Greater than 40 inches
    • Women - Greater than 35 inches
  • Fasting blood triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL)
  • Blood HDL cholesterol:
    • Men - Less than 40 mg/dL
    • Women - Less than 50 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85 millimeters of mercury (mmHg)
  • Fasting glucose greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL

These criteria were proposed by the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III) and are the most current and widely used.

*Although the criteria for diagnosing metabolic syndrome has been debated, the most recent proposed criteria for the ATP III panel did not find evidence to recommend routine measurement of insulin resistance (e.g., increased fasting blood insulin), prothrombotic state or proinflammatory state.


This content was last reviewed on 07/11/2011.


Metabolic Syndrome

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