Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, is known as "the silent killer." More than 80 million Americans (33%) have high blood pressure, and as many as 16 million of them do not even know they have the condition. If left untreated, high blood pressure greatly increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. Hypertension is projected to increase about 8 percent between 2013 and 2030.

The most current set of dietary guidelines for Americans encourages a diet that is plant-focused. Julie Upton, RD, of San Francisco, the cofounder of Appetite for Health, encourages a Mediterranean style of eating. The Mediterranean diet showcases fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and seafood but has less meat, cheese, sugars, and sweets. Says Upton: “Not only is this plan helpful for your heart, but it also lowers risks for metabolic syndrome.”


If you’ve been told that you have metabolic syndrome (sometimes called cardiometabolic syndrome), it means that you have several of these health problems. Together, they put you at much greater risk for heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes. In general, someone who has metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as a person who doesn’t have this grouping of health issues. Unfortunately, amid rising obesity rates in the U.S., this syndrome is becoming more common. Alarmingly, one out of 10 teens may have it.
People with full-blown type 2 diabetes are not able to use the hormone insulin properly, and have what’s called insulin resistance. Insulin is necessary for glucose, or sugar, to get from your blood into your cells to be used for energy. When there is not enough insulin — or when the hormone doesn’t function as it should — glucose accumulates in the blood instead of being used by the cells. This sugar accumulation may lead to the aforementioned complications.
The clinical value of using "metabolic syndrome" as a diagnosis has previously been debated due to different sets of conflicting and incomplete diagnostic criteria. These concerns have led the American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes to issue a joint statement identifying eight major concerns on the clinical utility of the metabolic syndrome diagnosis.[69] The principal argument has been that when confounding factors such as obesity are accounted for, diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome has a negligible association with the risk of heart disease.[70]

Anteroposterior x-ray from a 28-year old woman who presented with congestive heart failure secondary to her chronic hypertension, or high blood pressure. The enlarged cardiac silhouette on this image is due to congestive heart failure due to the effects of chronic high blood pressure on the left ventricle. The heart then becomes enlarged, and fluid accumulates in the lungs, known as pulmonary congestion.

Metabolic syndrome between pregnancies increases the risk of recurrent preeclampsia, according to a retrospective cohort study of 197 women who had preeclampsia during their first pregnancy. Of the 197 women, 40 (20%) had metabolic syndrome between pregnancies. Of these 40 women, 18 (45%) had preeclampsia during their second pregnancy, compared with 27 (17%) of the 157 women without metabolic syndrome between pregnancies. The risk of recurrent preeclampsia increased with the number of components of the metabolic syndrome present. [68, 69]
What medication is available for diabetes? Diabetes causes blood sugar levels to rise. The body may stop producing insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar, and this results in type 1 diabetes. In people with type 2 diabetes, insulin is not working effectively. Learn about the range of treatments for each type and recent medical developments here. Read now
Many expert groups recommend a slightly higher target of 150/90 mmHg for those over somewhere between 60 and 80 years of age.[99][100][101][105] The JNC-8 and American College of Physicians recommend the target of 150/90 mmHg for those over 60 years of age,[13][106] but some experts within these groups disagree with this recommendation.[107] Some expert groups have also recommended slightly lower targets in those with diabetes[99] or chronic kidney disease with protein loss in the urine,[108] but others recommend the same target as for the general population.[13][103] The issue of what is the best target and whether targets should differ for high risk individuals is unresolved,[109] although some experts propose more intensive blood pressure lowering than advocated in some guidelines.[110]

In the United States, metabolic syndrome has a high prevalence in African Americans, particularly African American women, and this has been attributed to the higher prevalence of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes in this population. [40] However, the highest age-adjusted prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the United States is found in Mexican Americans, approximately 31.9% of whom had the condition (compared with 27% of the general population) in a 1988-1994 survey. [41]
Naturally, since the metabolic syndrome is a disorder of energy distribution and storage, fat accumulation explains for a significant proportion of cardiovascular risk. However, obesity without metabolic syndrome does not confer a significant cardiovascular risk, whereas metabolic syndrome without obesity is associated with a significant risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This association of metabolic syndrome with diabetes can be illustrated by generalized lipodystrophy (near complete absence of adipose tissue). The animals and humans with generalized lipodystrophy develop signs of metabolic syndrome in the absence of adipose tissue; and the metabolic syndrome progresses to type 2 diabetes. Adipose tissue transplantation in transgenic mice with lipodystrophy can cure the type 2 diabetes.
In Europe hypertension occurs in about 30-45% of people as of 2013.[12] In 1995 it was estimated that 43 million people (24% of the population) in the United States had hypertension or were taking antihypertensive medication.[141] By 2004 this had increased to 29%[142][143] and further to 32% (76 million US adults) by 2017.[7] In 2017, with the change in definitions for hypertension, 46% of people in the United States are affected.[7] African-American adults in the United States have among the highest rates of hypertension in the world at 44%.[144] It is also more common in Filipino Americans and less common in US whites and Mexican Americans.[6][145] Differences in hypertension rates are multifactorial and under study.[146]
Metformin is generally recommended as a first line treatment for type 2 diabetes, as there is good evidence that it decreases mortality.[6] It works by decreasing the liver's production of glucose.[87] Several other groups of drugs, mostly given by mouth, may also decrease blood sugar in type II DM. These include agents that increase insulin release, agents that decrease absorption of sugar from the intestines, and agents that make the body more sensitive to insulin.[87] When insulin is used in type 2 diabetes, a long-acting formulation is usually added initially, while continuing oral medications.[6] Doses of insulin are then increased to effect.[6][88]
The metabolic syndrome quintuples the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Type 2 diabetes is considered a complication of metabolic syndrome. In people with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose, presence of metabolic syndrome doubles the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.[28] It is likely that prediabetes and metabolic syndrome denote the same disorder, defining it by the different sets of biological markers.
The exact cause of metabolic syndrome is unknown. It is frequently influenced by diet and lifestyle, but also seems to be genetically driven. As stated, many features of metabolic syndrome are associated with “insulin resistance,” which causes cells to lose their sensitivity to insulin, the hormone needed to allow blood sugar to enter cells for use as fuel. As glucose levels in the blood increase, the pancreas tries to overcompensate and produce even more insulin, which ultimately leads to the characteristic symptoms of metabolic syndrome. When insulin levels spike, a stress response occurs that leads to elevations in cortisol, the body’s long-acting stress hormone. This in turn creates an inflammatory reaction that if left unchecked begins to damage healthy tissue.
(As a side note, one tricky thing we are coming to find with leptin is that many obese people have very high circulating levels of leptin but some how their body still doesn’t listen to the signal. They are leptin resistant. This means that your metabolism slows and your hunger gets jacked up… even though you have plenty of fat stores on your body! Talk about frustrating… but solvable!)
Mind/Body: It is important to attend to stress in positive ways. Rather than using alcohol, tobacco, or television, try breathing exercises. They are simple, free, and right under your nose. Dr. Weil has compiled ten ways to reduce stress and promote relaxation, calm and peace within yourself. Some techniques take practice, and most require some commitment on your part to achieve results. However, the results are well worth the effort.
There is no known preventive measure for type 1 diabetes.[2] Type 2 diabetes – which accounts for 85–90% of all cases – can often be prevented or delayed by maintaining a normal body weight, engaging in physical activity, and consuming a healthy diet.[2] Higher levels of physical activity (more than 90 minutes per day) reduce the risk of diabetes by 28%.[71] Dietary changes known to be effective in helping to prevent diabetes include maintaining a diet rich in whole grains and fiber, and choosing good fats, such as the polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, vegetable oils, and fish.[72] Limiting sugary beverages and eating less red meat and other sources of saturated fat can also help prevent diabetes.[72] Tobacco smoking is also associated with an increased risk of diabetes and its complications, so smoking cessation can be an important preventive measure as well.[73]

Most individuals diagnosed with hypertension will have increasing blood pressure (BP) as they age. Untreated hypertension is notorious for increasing the risk of mortality and is often described as a silent killer. Mild to moderate hypertension, if left untreated, may be associated with a risk of atherosclerotic disease in 30% of people and organ damage in 50% of people within 8-10 years after onset.


At the end of the twelve-week study both groups lost weight, but the difference in the amount of muscle vs. fat loss was telling. The aerobic group lost 37 pounds over the course of the study. Ten of those pounds came from muscle. In contrast, the resistance-training group lost 32 pounds. None of the weight they lost came from muscle. When the resting metabolic rate of each group was calculated, the aerobic group was shown to be burning 210 fewer calories per day. The resistance-training group avoided this metabolic decline and instead was burning 63 more calories per day.
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