Metabolic Syndrome

Prior to becoming a healthcare professional, I had not heard of the term Metabolic Syndrome.

This syndrome, effecting approximately 1 in 5 adults, is not discussed often with clients and a majority of people are unaware of potentially meeting its criteria.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

It is a group of risk factors that places you at an increased risk of heart disease where hardening and narrowing of arteries reduce blood flow. This increases your risk of developing a number of health conditions including heart attacks, diabetes, stroke and even death.

How are you diagnosed?

There is no test that diagnosis you with metabolic syndrome, rather there are a group of 5 conditions. Having 3 or more of the 5 conditions is needed to diagnose metabolic syndrome. These conditions include

  • Large waist size: Over 88 cm in women or 102 cm in men. A higher waist size, relates to more abdominal fat increasing your risk of heart disease.
  • High triglyceride levels: Over 1.7 mmol/L. This relates to increased levels of fat in the blood.
  • Lowered HDLhigh density lipid- cholesterol: Less then 1.04 mmol/L in women or 1.3 mmol/L in men. HDL is a good cholesterol that helps to remove ‘bad’ cholesterol therefore we want higher HDL levels!
  • High blood pressure: 130/85 or higher. High blood pressure can damage blood vessel walls leading to hard/ thick arteries.
  • High fasting blood sugar: 5.6 mmol/L or higher- OR- you are on blood sugar medication! High blood sugars can be a sign of pre-diabetes!

What can you do?

Do you have metabolic syndrome- or are at an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome? If so, speaking to your health care professional would be a first step in coming up with a plan!

As you may have noticed, the above list is comprised with things that can be changed which are great news! Although age, genetics, and family history play some role, healthy lifestyle changes including weight reduction, ceasation of smoking, reduction of alcohol consumption, a nutritious diet and physical activity are related to ALL of the above conditions!

Why does your physiotherapist care?

Physiotherapy has a number of scopes of practice that we are interested in. In addition to treatment, we play a role in health promotion and prevention of illness and injury! Also, exercise and physiotherapy can play an important role in reducing risk of developing or management of metabolic syndrome!

If you are looking to increase exercise to combat or prevent metabolic syndrome, but are limited to pain/ injury, book in to speak with a physiotherapist today at 045-853726 or online at


Fallon, N. & Ingram. S. (2007). Metabolic Syndrome. Continuing education: module 14 Cardiology. Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2018). Metabolic Syndrome. Retrieved from

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. (n.d). Metabolic Syndrome. Retrieved at

Villegas. R. et al., 2004. Prevalence and lifestyle determinates of the metabolic syndrome. Irish Medical Journal. Retrieved from

Scroll to Top