Metabolic Syndrome Bigger Problem for Heart Failure Than Obesity

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found individuals with a healthy weight and metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of heart failure when compared to overweight individuals that are metabolically healthy.


    Metabolic Syndrome


    Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a group of risk factors that increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.


    Here are the five conditions considered risk factors for metabolic syndrome:


    1. Large waist or abdominal obesity
    2. High triglycerides or taking medication to lower triglycerides
    3. Low HDL cholesterol or taking medication to raise HDL cholesterol

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    4. High blood pressure or taking blood pressure medication
    5. High fasting blood sugar or taking medication to control blood sugar

    Risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stoke increase based on the number of risk factors you have. In order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome you need to have at least three out of the five risk factors.


    It's generally estimated that metabolic syndrome doubles your risk for heart disease and makes you five times more likely to develop diabetes compared to someone with out metabolic syndrome.


    Factors such as a high LDL cholesterol or smoking cigarettes still increase your heart disease risk, they are just not factored into the metabolic syndrome.


    Study Participants


    Researchers followed 550 individuals over six years. The 550 participates were classified by the presence or absence of Metabolic Syndrome and body mass index.


    271 - Diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome
    279 - No Metabolic Syndrome
    177 - Normal Weight
    234 - Overweight
    139 - Obese


    Study Results


    The study found increased heart failure risk to not be associated with body mass index, while being diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome increased risk two and a half times. During the six year period, the lowest level of heart failure was seen among participants who were overweight or obese, but did not have metabolic syndrome. Participants risk for heart failure was increased with elevated fasting blood sugars, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, and abdominal obesity.


    Take Away


    This is good news for those who are overweight and free of the 5 factors associated with metabolic syndrome. However, that doesn't mean you don't need to address your weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for all five factors associated with metabolic syndrome. Take action now to prevent the development of metabolic syndrome.


    You can access the free report How to Make Heart Healthy Changes into Lifelong Habits at


Published On: September 20, 2011