Beware the Deadly Quartet
Posted On Aug 18, 2011
It has many names-Syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, the deadly quartet-but it’s traditionally been called the metabolic syndrome. Regardless of its name, the syndrome refers to a group of four risk factors (obesity, hypertension, elevated glucose and high triglycerides) that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes.
“A famous endocrinologist, Dr. Raven Gerald, introduced the title metabolic syndrome many years ago and it consists of four things: visceral obesity, hypertension, elevated blood glucose and hyperlipidemia [a.k.a. triglycerides, those bad, unsaturated fats you get from meat and vegetable oil],” says Dr. Frederic Vagnini, a former cardiovascular surgeon who now runs two medicals centers in New York that focus on heart, diabetes and weight loss.
While researchers are unsure whether the syndrome is due to any one cause, most agree that all of the syndrome’s risk factors are closely related to obesity. With the obesity rate increasing dramatically over the last 20 years (about one-third of all U.S. adults are obese), there has also been a severe rise in the number of adults with metabolic syndrome.
Two of the most important risk factors are: Extra weight around the middle of the body (central obesity) and insulin resistance, in which the body cannot use insulin effectively, a precursor to diabetes. “Metabolic syndrome is basically an underlying metabolic abnormality complicated by poor lifestyle choices,” says Dr. Vagnini. But a strict regimen of dietary management, exercise, supplements and hormone balancing can effectively reverse it.