What is Syndrome W?

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  • Written By: Sandra Koehler
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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Millions of women, especially around the age of forty, are noticing an accumulation of fat around their middle, or midriff weight gain, despite beefing up exercise routines and dieting endlessly. Syndrome W is a metabolic problem with insulin that can cause this type of weight gain.

Insulin is a powerful hormone. Normally it derives things like amino acids from protein and delivers it to muscle cells, and fatty acids to fat cells. It then stores any excess glucose, or blood sugar, in the liver and fat cells. When the body is in need of energy, insulin moves glucose to the appropriate areas of the body. Syndrome W is an insulin resistance, or hyperinsulinemia, meaning the cells reject that insulin. The body responds to the demand for more energy by releasing more insulin to compensate. This insulin then accumulates in the bloodstream.

This persistent buildup of insulin could lead to increased health risks. For a while, insulin levels may be elevated, but the blood glucose levels can remain within normal limits. However, this excess insulin can cause cardiovascular problems.

Eventually, glucose levels will spike, causing an increased risk for what has become known as Syndrome X, a collection of metabolic abnormalities that dramatically raises the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack and stroke. People with this syndrome can also have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and some forms of cancer.


For many, metabolic changes begin to occur around mid-life, making the body more vulnerable to Syndrome W. Women, particularly of Asian, Middle Eastern or Hispanic descent, are more susceptible to this problem. Polycystic ovary syndrome also increases the risks. Heredity and obesity have also been linked to Syndrome W, though thin people can also suffer from this syndrome.

Exercise and a healthy diet are mainstays of a healthy lifestyle. Eating right and maintaining an active lifestyle can help prevent insulin resistance and its complications. Early diagnosis and a proper multifaceted treatment program can help manage insulin. Warning signs include blood pressure changes, abnormalities in cholesterol balance and noticeable weight gain around the middle. Diagnosis includes blood tests and the determination of changes in body weight distribution. This apple body shape means there is more fat around the internal organs, which causes increased health risks.

Many people with Syndrome W benefit from a low glycemic diet. This is where carbohydrates are ranked according to how much it raises blood sugars to avoid insulin spikes. Watching hydrogenated fat intake, often found in things like crackers, cookies and pastries, can help by decreasing insulin insensitivity.

If changes in lifestyle are not enough, it’s best to seek professional medical advice. There are prescriptions drugs that may help. The prescription medication Metformin, for example, may be an option. It helps the body restore proper response to insulin and decreases the amount the body stores to counteract Syndrome W’s insulin resistance routine.


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