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Metabolic syndrome - Clinical identification


Clinical Identification of the Metabolic Syndrome—Any Three Risk Factors

Risk Factor
Defining Level
Abdominal obesitya


  Men (waist circumference)b

>102 cm (>40 in.)
  Women
>88 cm (>35 in.)
Triglycerides
>1.7 mmol/L (>150 mg/dL)
HDL cholesterol

  Men
<1.0 mmol/L (<40 mg/dL)
  Women
<1.3 mmol/L (<50 mg/dL)
Blood pressure
greater than or equal to 130/greater than or equal to 85 mmHg
Fasting glucose
>6.1 mmol/L (>110 mg/dL)


aOverweight and obesity are associated with insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome. However, the presence of abdominal obesity is more highly correlated with the metabolic risk factors than is an elevated body-mass index (BMI). Therefore, the simple measure of waist circumference is recommended to identify the BMI component of the metabolic syndrome.

bSome male patients can develop multiple metabolic risk factors when the waist circumference is only marginally increased, e.g., 94–102 cm (37–39 in.). Such patients may have a strong genetic contribution to insulin resistance. They should benefit from life-style changes, similarly to men with categorical increases in waist circumference.

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