Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that affects about 23 percent of adults and places them at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and diseases related to fatty buildups in artery walls. The underlying causes of metabolic syndrome include overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, genetic factors and getting older.
But why does someone get to this point? For the chronic dieter they arrive with metabolic damage because they hold tightly to the “Eat less, exercise more” mantras they were taught. When weight loss slows down, they eat less and push harder in their exercise routine, pushing metabolism into the ground. For the person with the unknown metabolism problem their road to metabolic damage is much more subtle. This person simply isn’t feeling well, starts putting on weight, and progresses all the way to metabolic damage because no doctor was able to identify what was going wrong.
The WHO estimates that diabetes mellitus resulted in 1.5 million deaths in 2012, making it the 8th leading cause of death. However another 2.2 million deaths worldwide were attributable to high blood glucose and the increased risks of cardiovascular disease and other associated complications (e.g. kidney failure), which often lead to premature death and are often listed as the underlying cause on death certificates rather than diabetes. For example, in 2014, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimated that diabetes resulted in 4.9 million deaths worldwide, using modeling to estimate the total number of deaths that could be directly or indirectly attributed to diabetes.
A sustainable exercise program, for example 30 minutes five days a week is reasonable to start, providing there is no medical contraindication. (If you have any special concerns in this regard, check with your doctor first.) There is a beneficial effect of exercise on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and insulin sensitivity, regardless of whether weight loss is achieved or not. Thus, exercise in itself is a helpful tool in treating metabolic syndrome.
Exposure to certain viral infections (mumps and Coxsackie viruses) or other environmental toxins may serve to trigger abnormal antibody responses that cause damage to the pancreas cells where insulin is made. Some of the antibodies seen in type 1 diabetes include anti-islet cell antibodies, anti-insulin antibodies and anti-glutamic decarboxylase antibodies. These antibodies can be detected in the majority of patients, and may help determine which individuals are at risk for developing type 1 diabetes.
^ Sacks, F. M.; Svetkey, L. P.; Vollmer, W. M.; Appel, L. J.; Bray, G. A.; Harsha, D.; Obarzanek, E.; Conlin, P. R.; Miller, E. R. (2001-01-04). "Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. DASH-Sodium Collaborative Research Group". The New England Journal of Medicine. 344 (1): 3–10. doi:10.1056/NEJM200101043440101. ISSN 0028-4793. PMID 11136953.
Along with the increased hunger and cravings comes the metabolic slow down. This is most impacted by the hormone leptin. Less insulin exposure to the fat cell and a shrinking fat cell means the metabolic hormone leptin is reduced. Low leptin means increased hunger. Low leptin also means decreased activity of the body’s two major metabolic engines, the thyroid and the adrenal glands. So as leptin decreases, your metabolism gets the signal to stop burning energy and to start consuming it.
Your doctor may have handed you an info sheet on the foods you should be avoiding, but you might make more progress by adding certain foods to your diet. Focus on incorporating foods rich in soluble fiber, like oats and beans, into your meals. Insoluble fibers like whole grains can provide a "moving experience" by transporting foods through your gastrointestinal tract while keeping you feeling satisfied. Fill at least half your plate with veggies and fruits, and choose whole-grain carbs to make less room on your plate (and in your stomach) for less-beneficial choices.
Endocrinology is the specialty of medicine that deals with hormone disturbances, and both endocrinologists and pediatric endocrinologists manage patients with diabetes. People with diabetes may also be treated by family medicine or internal medicine specialists. When complications arise, people with diabetes may be treated by other specialists, including neurologists, gastroenterologists, ophthalmologists, surgeons, cardiologists, or others.
Emerging data suggest an important correlation between metabolic syndrome and risk of stroke.  Each of the components of metabolic syndrome has been associated with elevated stroke risk, and evidence demonstrates a relationship between the collective metabolic syndrome and risk of ischemic stroke.  Metabolic syndrome may also be linked to neuropathy beyond hyperglycemic mechanisms through inflammatory mediators.