Healthy Habits

Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors

Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits

Now that you know a little more about metabolic syndrome, it’s important to think about how this information applies to you personally. Knowing your risk factors, modifiable or not, will help you be prepared for future possibilities or lifestyle changes to consider.

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Age: Risk for metabolic syndrome increases as you get older.
  • Ethnicity: Ethnicity may play a role in your risk for metabolic syndrome.
  • Family history and genetics: You have a higher risk of metabolic syndrome if others in your family have had diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or any of its associated conditions.
  • Sex: In older adults, women have a higher risk of metabolic syndrome than men due to hormone level changes after menopause.

Discuss current conditions and medications with your provider to see if you are at an elevated risk for metabolic syndrome. The following conditions have been associated with increased risk:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Problems with your immune system
  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
  • Some medicines used to treat allergies, bipolar disorder, depression, HIV, and schizophrenia

Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Physical activity: Find an activity you enjoy and do it often, whether that involves going to the gym or riding your bike with family. Aim to achieve 30 minutes of physical activity most days.
  • Diet: Shoot for a balanced diet made up of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein.
  • Sleep: Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep to give your body the rest and rejuvenation it needs. Focus on sleep quality by accessing your sleep habits and night-time routine.
  • Smoking cessation: Quitting smoking is the best thing a smoker can do to improve their health, regardless of their age or how long they have been smoking. ​Reducing this cardiovascular risk also reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Medications: Talk with your physician about the option of starting a medication to help manage blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease risks.

Take action: Review this list and determine if there are changes you can make in the near future to help reduce your metabolic syndrome risk. Write down one simple step you can take this week to improve your lifestyle habits.



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