It's called metabolic syndrome, and it can lead to sudden death via stroke or other serious complications -- and you might not even be aware that you have it.
A new report finds that about a third of all U.S. adults have metabolic syndrome, a frightening reality that says many people may be in denial about their own health and could be at risk of sudden death.
Metabolic syndrome happens when a person builds up too much abdominal fat and high blood pressure, which can lead to a range of complications including stroke and heart disease. A study publish in the journal JAMA has found that the number of people with it has increased from 32.9 percent in 2003-04 to 34.7 percent in 2011-12 — although figures have leveled off in recent years, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The study was bast on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
That’s an alarming percentage of Americans who probably don’t realize the seriousness of having metabolic syndrome, or that they are even at risk of having the syndrome by checking to see if they meet a few of the following qualifications: high blood pressure, a large waist, low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, high fasting blood sugar, and a high number of triglycerides. If you’re obese, chances are you check quite a few of these categories and may have the syndrome.
Those who have metabolic syndrome are at a far greater risk of getting stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and other complications.
Researchers found that the condition is more prevalent in older people, with nearly half of all people over 60 — 47 percent — reportedly having metabolic syndrome, compared to just 18 percent of Americans who are between the ages of 20 and 29.
It also affects women more, with 37 percent of them having it versus 33 percent for men.
Latinos were the most likely to show signs of the syndrome at 39 percent. White people came in at 37 percent, and African-Americans at 36 percent, with “other” showing 23 percent.