A fasting blood sugar level greater than or equal
to 100 mg/dL
A large waist circumference
Low HDL cholesterol levels
Triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 mg/dL
Lifestyle changes including diet and regular exercise
to bring about weight loss is recommended for metabolic syndrome. Medications may be required in some cases.
Currently, it is recommended that every person
should exercise for at least 30 minutes per day for five days a week, if the
exercise is of moderate intensity. If
one opts for more vigorous forms of exercise, the duration may be reduced to 20
minutes three days a week. A
combination of the two may also be adopted.
Additional activities to maintain or increase muscle strength and
endurance should be done for at least two days each week.
A study was
carried out to assess the benefit of physical activity in reducing deaths in
adult patients of metabolic syndrome in Norway
. A total of 13,449 people
with metabolic syndrome and 36,890 without metabolic syndrome were included in
the study. Deaths due to any cause as
well as deaths due to cardiovascular diseases (diseases affecting the heart and
blood vessels like heart attack and stroke) were recorded. Serum glucose levels were obtained. Physical activity was recorded based on data
provided by patients and was classified as light or hard physical
activity. Light and hard physical
activity were also combined and graded as inactive, low, moderate and high
researchers found that metabolic syndrome affected 23% participants younger
than 65 years of age and 44% participants 65 years or older
. In the younger age group, 53% individuals less than 65 years of
age reported a level of exercise that was equal to or higher than current
recommendations, whereas, 41% of older individuals reported the same. Only 9% of the younger age group were
inactive, whereas 19% were inactive in the older age group.
Individuals with metabolic syndrome were followed up
for an average period of 10 years.
During this time, 1,839 deaths were observed among the patients with
metabolic syndrome. Deaths due to
cardiovascular causes accounted for 26% of deaths in the younger age group and
43% in the older age group. Metabolic syndrome was associated with
deaths due to cardiovascular causes as well as with deaths from all causes in
the younger age group, whereas such association was not observed with the older
The study also
found that the risk of dying from all causes as well as cardiovascular causes
was lower in case of more active people irrespective of their age. Even people with low
levels of physical activity seemed to reap the benefits of activity as compared
to those who were inactive.
The study thus
indicates that physical activity helps to increase the lifespan of people
suffering from metabolic syndrome, and hence they should be encouraged to lead
an active life.
1. Stensvold D, Nauman J, Nilsen TIL, Wisloff U, Slordahl SA, Vatten
L. Even low level of physical activity
is associated with reduced mortality among people with metabolic syndrome, a
population based study (the HUNT 2 study, Norway). BMC Medicine 2011, 9:109