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Metabolic syndrome X, often simply referred to as syndrome X, generally refers to a combination of medical disorders associated with poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. These medical disorders can cause serious complications for many individuals. Syndrome X symptoms may include weight problems, high blood fat levels, hypertension, and insulin resistance.
A weight problem is one of the syndrome X symptoms. Individuals with this syndrome are often overweight, or obese. Usually, this extra weight is carried around a person's torso. Some experts refer to this as an apple-shaped body.
Obesity will often cause another symptom of syndrome X. When a person is overweight, he will usually have elevated levels of certain types of fats in the blood. Normal levels of these fats, known as triglycerides, are partly responsible for giving a person energy. On the other hand, high levels of triglycerides in the blood can lead to other health problems.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is another of the primary syndrome X symptoms. Blood pressure refers to the force of the blood against the artery walls, and it is expressed with two numbers. A person's blood pressure consists of two numbers, with the systolic number written over the diastolic number. Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80, and anything over 140/90 is considered to be high. A person with high blood pressure is more at risk of having certain medical complications, such as heart attacks.
Insulin resistance is often one of the other syndrome X symptoms. The body produces insulin naturally, and it is used to help regulate glucose in a person's blood. Individuals with insulin resistance have a harder time regulating blood glucose levels, and this often leads to elevated levels, sometimes referred to as high blood sugar. Insulin resistance can cause a variety of health problems, including fatigue, bloating, and weight gain. It can also lead to kidney problems.
Syndrome X symptoms and signs may be caused by a number of things. Obesity and high triglycerides, for instance, may be caused by a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet. Hypertension may also be caused by a poor diet, along with a few other lifestyle choices. Smoking and stress may also contribute to high blood pressure. Insulin resistance, however, may be genetic, meaning that it may run in a person's family.
Patients with syndrome X symptoms are typically encouraged to make some lifestyle changes. A healthy diet and exercise can help a person lower his weight, triglyceride levels, and blood pressure. Some medications may also be used to lower blood pressure and help regulate blood glucose levels.