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Definition of Metabolic syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Metabolic syndrome: A constellation of conditions that place people at high risk for coronary artery disease. These conditions include type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and a poor lipid profile with elevated LDL ("bad") cholesterol, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, elevated triglycerides. All of these conditions are associated with high blood insulin levels. The fundamental defect in the metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance in both adipose tissue and muscle. Drugs that decrease insulin resistance also usually lower blood pressure and improve the lipid profile.

Also called the insulin resistance syndrome, syndrome X, dysmetabolic syndrome X, and Reaven syndrome. The term Reaven syndrome refers to the Stanford University physician Gerald Reaven who first described the syndrome at the 1988 Banting Lecture of the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association.

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