Metabolic syndrome is a diagnosis given to patients with at least 3 of these characteristics: hypertension (systolic >130 mmHg, diastolic >85 mmHg, or currently medicated for hypertension,) low HDL (<40 mg/dl in men, <50 mg/dL in women,) high triglycerides (<150 mg/dL,) and high blood glucose (>100 mg/dL).

Each of these alone has innumerable complications, but altogether lead to severe, increased risk of complications including cerebrovascular accidents, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  Research is ongoing on the pathophysiology of this condition. Currently, causation appears to be a combination of lack of physical activity and genetic predisposition. The key mechanism of complications is buildup of fatty tissue in the viscera and subcutaneous regions, causing the development of insulin resistance. Risk factors for metabolic syndrome, include obesity, alcohol intake, smoking, and old age.

Metabolic syndrome patients are encouraged to sticking to a healthy diet, avoiding smoking, and exercising more frequently to avoid complications. In addition to avoiding risk factors, new data shows the importance of treating Metabolic Syndrome patients for sleep apnea using continuous positive airway pressure to decrease the risk of complications. A combination of medications and life-style modifications to maintain consistent and healthy habits in everyday life have been shown to be most effective in prevention.