Is Prediabetes The Same Thing As Metabolic Syndrome Or Syndrome X?
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This is a great question because sometimes the term Metabolic Syndrome (also called Syndrome X) is used when discussing pre-diabetes. But the 2 are NOT the same thing.
According to the Mayo Clinic Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Having just one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease. Having more than one of these might increase your risk even more.
An underlying cause of Metabolic Syndrome is Insulin Resistance, a condition that increases the chances of developing Pre-Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. So an understanding of the interaction of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome and Pre-Diabetes is critical to making lifestyle changes that can help you avoid Type 2 Diabetes and many other health problems.
Food is broken down in the body into glucose, the simple sugar that is the main source of energy. It is digested into many different macromolecules — protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Then, carbohydrates are broken down further into glucose which is the simple energy used by cells for fuel.
Insulin allows this glucose to leave the blood stream and enter the cell where it can fuel the activities of that cell. Your pancreas makes and secretes insulin. But glucose can’t enter the cells if your pancreas doesn’t manufacture enough insulin or your cells are unable to process the insulin that is present in the blood stream.
As a result, glucose levels become elevated, setting the stage for Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.
“Tissues with too much fat produce fewer insulin receptors and are more resistant to insulin. In a vicious cycle, the pancreas responds by pumping more insulin until the insulin-producing cells die from exhaustion. Type 2 diabetes ensues.”
When you are Insulin Resistant, your muscle, fat and liver cells do not use insulin properly. The pancreas tries to keep up with the demand for insulin by producing more. Eventually, the pancreas cannot keep up with the body’s need for insulin, causing excess glucose to build-up in the blood stream.
Many people with Insulin Resistance have high levels of both blood glucose and insulin circulating in their blood at the same time.
Pre-Diabetes means you have a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Studies have shown that most people with Pre-Diabetes go on to develop Type II Diabetes within 10 years unless they make changes to their weight, their diet and their levels of physical activity.
While both diabetes, pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome have insulin resistance as an underlying cause, they are not the same thing.