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What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of conditions, which, when present at the same time, lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

These risk factors are:

  • High levels of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol
  • High levels of blood triglycerides
  • Insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels
  • Arterial hypertension (>140/90 mmHg)
  • Obesity (BMI>30) and large waist circumference (>94 cm for men and> 80 cm for women)

Metabolic Syndrome is diagnosed when 3 or more of these risk factors are present.

Cholesterol is a molecule, belonging to the class of lipids, which plays different and fundamental functions in the human body, it is, for instance an essential component of cell membrane.

The cholesterol present in blood can be contained in LDL, or low-density lipoproteins (also called “bad cholesterol”), or in HDL, that are high-density lipoproteins (also known as “good cholesterol”).

When blood LDL levels are high, one can speak of hypercholesterolemia and this is defined as a cardiovascular risk factor because it can lead to the onset of certain diseases, such as myocardial infarction and stroke.

On the contrary, a high HDL cholesterol value is generally associated with a better state of health, since high-density lipoproteins have the function of collecting the excess cholesterol deposited in the tissues and promoting its elimination.



Insulin is a hormone that has the function of regulating the concentration levels of glucose in blood, also called glycaemia. When blood sugar is higher than normal, it can favor the onset of pathologies, even serious ones.

Sometimes, for some reason, there is a reduction in the ability of cells to respond to insulin. That causes an increase in blood sugar. This condition is called insulin resistance and is one of major diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome.

Triglycerides are molecules composed of fatty acids and glycerol which represent the body’s main energy source. They also constitute the adipose tissue.

The high level of triglycerides in blood, a condition called hypertriglyceridemia, is often linked to cardiovascular diseases, as is the case with cholesterol.

Thanks also to their energetic importance, the level of triglycerides in body must not be too high but not too low. Normal levels range between 50 and 150 mg/dL with an optimal value below 100 mg/dL.



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