Your primary care physician or family doctor can help you exclude or confirm a metabolic syndrome diagnosis. To begin, your doctor will ask you questions about your personal and family medical histories. Be sure to tell your doctor if you take medications to treat blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol or triglyceride levels, as this information is critical for diagnosis. Although your doctor is not typically looking for "metabolic syndrome," the label may apply if you experience three or more of the traits associated with this condition.
To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must exhibit at least three out of five of the following:
Doctors first suspect metabolic syndrome in cases of central/abdominal obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, but both laboratory and non-laboratory tests are important in establishing the diagnosis. The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is based on the results of a physical exam and blood tests. Tests used to diagnose metabolic syndrome include:
Blood pressure – This test is used to confirm or exclude cases of hypertension.
BMI (body mass index) – BMI is an alternate measure of obesity used by many doctors that compares average weight to height ratios. BMI is calculated by taking: (Weight in pounds X 705) / (height in inches squared). An adult with a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese. This calculation does not, however, describe location of excess weight on the body, another important factor for metabolic syndrome diagnosis.
Weight – Doctors take your weight in order to calculate body mass index and to calculate possible obesity.
Waist circumference – This measurement is use to document possible abdominal obesity. Excess fat around the waist is one component of metabolic syndrome.
Doctors often recommend other laboratory tests for both diagnosing metabolic syndrome and to provide them with additional information. Recommended tests include:
C-peptide – This test is a reliable indicator of endogenous insulin production.
DLDL – This test is a direct measurement of low density lipoprotein.
Glucose test - The goal of glucose testing is to determine whether an impaired response to glucose results in elevated blood glucose levels, or not. Usually doctors order a fasting glucose test but, in some cases, a doctor may also order a post prandial glucose test (after a meal) or a glucose tolerance test where several glucose tests that are taken before and at timed intervals after a glucose challenge.
hs-CRP - A measure of low levels of inflammation that may be tested as part of an evaluation of cardiac risk.
Insulin test - The fasting insulin test is considered too variable to be clinically useful in diagnosing metabolic syndrome but, if measured, will usually be elevated in those affected.
Lipid profile - This test measures HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and VLDL.
Microalbumin - This test is used to help monitor diabetes and is an early indicator of kidney disease.
SdLDL – Used to measure the number of small dense low-density lipoprotein molecules
It’s possible to prevent or delay metabolic syndrome, mainly with lifestyle changes. But successfully controlling metabolic syndrome takes long term effort and cooperation with your doctors. Read on to learn more about how you can change your lifestyle as well as the other treatment options for metabolic syndrome, including how to manage a metabolic diet.
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