Metabolic syndrome is a multiplex risk factor that arises from insulin resistance accompanying abnormal adipose deposition and function.  It is a risk factor for coronary heart disease, as well as diabetes, fatty liver, and several cancers. The clinical manifestations of this syndrome may include hypertension, hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and abdominal obesity. (See Prognosis, Workup, Treatment, and Medication.)
Usually, there are no immediate physical symptoms of metabolic syndrome. People with metabolic syndrome do have a tendency to be overweight, especially around the abdomen – having an “apple shape.” Moreover, since this condition is associated with insulin resistance, individuals with metabolic syndrome may display some of the clinical features associated with an increase in the production of insulin. For instance, women may experience cysts on their ovaries (metabolic syndrome is associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome) and irregular periods. Individuals can have an increased incidence of skin tags, benign raised growths of skin that usually appear increases on the neck and back. In addition, they can exhibit acanthosis nigricans – a pigmentation of the skin, which appears discolored or dirty over the back of the neck and underarms.
Because the population of the U.S. is aging, and because metabolic syndrome is more likely the older you are, the American Heart Association (AHA) has estimated that metabolic syndrome soon will become the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease, ahead of cigarette smoking. Experts also think that increasing rates of obesity are related to the increasing rates of metabolic syndrome.
This last one is going to really bother the primal crowd, but the number one way to avoid POPs is to avoid high fat animal products. This means that a lower carb and higher fat diet may not be the best option as a fat loss diet. Making non-starchy vegetables and lean protein sources the priority may be best to deal with the POP effect above. If you have been doing well on a low carb high fat diet, don’t stop, just realize that this POP issue may become an issue in slowing the rate of your weight loss or be a factor in weight regain. If this has been something you deal with, you may want to try something closer to a 30:40:30 diet.
Cataracts and glaucoma are also more common among diabetics. It is also important to note that since the lens of the eye lets water through, if blood sugar concentrations vary a lot, the lens of the eye will shrink and swell with fluid accordingly. As a result, blurry vision is very common in poorly controlled diabetes. Patients are usually discouraged from getting a new eyeglass prescription until their blood sugar is controlled. This allows for a more accurate assessment of what kind of glasses prescription is required.