You might have heard a lot about obesity and metabolic syndrome, as these two conditions are quite common these days. But are these two conditions, obesity and metabolic syndrome, related? Let’s have a quick look!

What is obesity in medicine?

Obesity is a complex condition mainly characterized by an excess of body fat. Obesity or overweight is described as an abnormal or excessive buildup of fat that poses a health concern. It is more than just an esthetic issue. It is a medical condition that raises the risk of developing other diseases and cardiovascular conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes (type I & II), heart problems, and some malignancies.

According to the global burden of illness, the issue has reached epidemic proportions, with more than 4 million people dying annually due to being obese in 2017. Moreover, Overweight and obesity rates in adults and children continue to rise.

Causes of obesity

Several factors can lead to obesity or overweight. These include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Genetics (obesity tends to run in families)
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Hormone problems
  • Eating more calories than burning
  • Environmental factors
  • Lack of sleep

Symptoms of obesity

A body mass index of more than 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese.

Risk factors

Some of the risk factors that contribute to obesity are:

  • Family inheritance
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Inactivity
  • Liquid calories
  • Age
  • Stress
  • Social or economic issues
  • Some diseases and medications

Complications of obesity

Some of the complications of obesity are:

  • Type II Diabetes
  • Heart diseases
  • Cancers
  • Stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Digestion problems
  • Osteoarthritis

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of disorders that raise your risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart diseases. The causes of metabolic syndrome are complicated and poorly understood, but a genetic relationship is suspected.

Being obese or overweight, as well as being physically sedentary, increases your risk. Syndrome X or insulin-resistance syndrome are other names for metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome affects more than 35% of Australian adults. This is more common in people with diabetes.

The cluster of metabolic factors

The cluster of metabolic factors involved in metabolic syndrome, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, includes:

  • Impaired fasting blood glucose
  • Abdominal obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Low HDL (good) cholesterol
  • High triglyceride levels

The NHLBI recommends a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome when a person has three or more of these factors.

Causes of metabolic syndrome

The exact causes of metabolic syndrome are still unknown, but many factors are interconnected. These include:

  • Obesity
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure

Symptoms of metabolic disorder

In general, people don’t have symptoms. But some potential symptoms include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High triglycerides
  • Obesity

Risk factors of metabolic syndrome

The risk factors that can contribute to metabolic syndrome are:

  • Age
  • Society
  • Body mass index or BMI greater than 25
  • Family history of diabetes
  • High-fat diet
  • Being past menopause
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • History of heavy drinking
  • Sedentary lifestyle

How obesity and metabolic syndrome are related?

Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of metabolic risk factors related to abdominal obesity. It can be defined by the presence of abdominal obesity and any two of the following factors: increased TGs, increased fasting plasma glucose, reduced HDL cholesterol, and hypertension. Abdominal obesity is the most frequently observed component of metabolic syndrome. Other components of metabolic syndrome include high blood triglycerides, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and low HDL cholesterol levels.