Why does metabolic syndrome occur?
Some people are genetically prone to develop insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. Other people develop metabolic syndrome by:
- Putting on excess body fat
- Failing to get enough physical activity
What groups are most likely to have metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the United States. Several factors increase the likelihood of acquiring metabolic syndrome:
Obesity is an important potential cause of metabolic syndrome. Excessive fat in and around the abdomen is most strongly associated with metabolic syndrome. However, the reasons abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome seem to be linked are complex and not fully understood.
- Insulin resistance
Metabolic syndrome is closely associated with a generalized metabolic disorder called insulin resistance, in which the body can't use insulin efficiently. Some people are genetically predisposed to insulin resistance.
- Race and gender
When they have the same body mass index (BMI), Caucasians are at a greater risk for developing metabolic syndrome than African Americans are. Men are more likely than women to develop metabolic syndrome.
Fortunately, many of the factors that contribute to metabolic syndrome can be addressed through lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, and weight loss. By making these changes, you can significantly reduce your risks.
This content was last reviewed August 2016.