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Living With Metabolic Syndrome

If you have metabolic syndrome, the main focus of treatment will be to prevent or reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Your health care team will start with lifestyle changes, and advise you on safe and healthy ways to lose weight through regular exercise and committing to a healthier diet.

  • Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day most days. You should feel your heart rate climb. Swimming, biking and gardening all count. If you have a pedometer, use it to track the number of steps you take each day and aim for 10,000 or more.
  • Eat healthy. You may need to change the types of foods you eat and how they are prepared. It’s also important to be aware of portion sizes and restricting calories. Be mindful of what is on your plate, and ask whether you might benefit from a heart-healthy eating plan such as the DASH diet, a healthy vegetarian diet, or the Mediterranean diet.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Limit the simple carbohydrates: less white bread, less potatoes, white rice and pasta, and less sweets; replace with complex carbohydrates
  • Quit or don’t start smoking.
  • Manage stress.
  • Pay attention to your waistline. It may be useful to measure your midriff so that you know where you started, and can track your progress.  

Medications may be needed if lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to help make a difference. Several types of medications help control your blood pressure, blood glucose or blood cholesterol.

For example, ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure, and they have also been shown to reduce insulin resistance. Metformin is used to help prevent diabetes in people with metabolic syndrome. Aspirin may be recommended to prevent the blood from becoming sticky and forming clots.

To correctly measure waist circumference:
  • Stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones.
  • Make sure tape is horizontal around the waist.
  • Keep the tape snug around the waist, but not compressing the skin.
  • Measure your waist just after you breathe out.
Source: CDC, DHHS
  • Last Edited 03/31/2019