While the results of this study are promising — and the first to indicate that a genetic mutation can influence the development of metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease — the study involved a very small group and was not representative of a larger population. However, it does indicate that, over time, we may be able to block the effects of the mutation that leads to metabolic syndrome with medicine.
In the meantime, the answer to the question, “What causes metabolic syndrome?” is that lifestyle choices play a major role in controlling the five health conditions involved with the disease. Having three or more of these conditions may lead to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, which can result in heart attack, stroke, heart failure and diabetes.
- Abdominal girth
- Elevated blood pressure
- Elevated triglycerides (the fat found in your blood)
- Elevated blood sugar
- Low HDL (the good cholesterol)
While over 80 percent of those with metabolic syndrome are likely to have a genetic link to the condition, lifestyle choices are believed to be a major contributor. Lifestyle changes can also help a patient achieve better health and reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic Fitness Program
The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center offers a Metabolic Fitness Program that combines exercise, nutrition, stress management and strategies for behavior change to promote positive lifestyle changes.
The 12- or 24-week program includes group education and discussion sessions along with supervised group exercise sessions. Each participant is also given a customized exercise program to do on his or her own. Experienced exercise physiologists are available at the Preventive Cardiology Fitness Center.
Many patients lower their weight, improve their emotional health and reduce their values associated with the components of the metabolic syndrome, sometimes requiring less medication to control these conditions.
Take the next step:
For more information and questions about enrolling in the Metabolic Fitness Program, visit www.umcvc.org/mfp or call 734-998-5679. New participants are accepted in the program every month, with weekly meetings on Tuesday evenings.
Dr. Melvyn Rubenfire is a Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of Preventive Cardiology at the University of Michigan. He is a pioneer in coronary disease prevention having developed the first cardiac rehabilitation and lipid management program in Michigan in the 1980s.
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.