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The Metabolic Bariatric Syndrome and Surgery Connection

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raise your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The term “metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning. Metabolic syndrome is closely associated with obesity.

Risk factors for metabolic syndrome are traits, conditions and/or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease. For example, your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke increases with the number of metabolic risk factors you have.

In general, a person who has metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes than someone who doesn’t have metabolic syndrome.

You must have at least three metabolic risk factors to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome: A large waistline indicating abdominal obesity or “having an apple shape.” Excess fat in the stomach area is a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body, such as on the hips.

  • A high triglyceride level (or you’re on medicine to treat high triglycerides). Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood.
  • A low HDL cholesterol level (or you’re on medicine to treat low HDL cholesterol). HDL sometimes is called “good” cholesterol. This is because it helps remove cholesterol from your arteries. A low HDL cholesterol level raises your risk for heart disease.
  • High blood pressure (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood pressure). Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and lead to plaque buildup.
  • High fasting blood sugar (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood sugar). Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.

Metabolic syndrome is becoming more common due to a rise in obesity rates among adults. Metabolic syndrome may eventually overtake smoking as the leading risk factor for heart disease.

Obesity-Related Conditions

According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery research, bariatric surgery has been shown to be the most effective and durable treatment for mobid obesity.

  • Surgery results in significant weight loss and helps prevent, improve or resolve more than 40 obesity-related diseases or conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea and certain cancers. (2, 3, 4)
  • Individuals with morbid obesity or a BMI>30 have a 50-100% increased risk of premature death compared to individuals of healthy weight.(5) Use the calculator to find your BMI
  • Studies show surgery reduces a person’s risk of premature death by 30%–40% (6)

Studies show that after bariatric surgery, metabolic syndrome is resolved in a large percentage of patients.