Health Topics

Metabolic problems

Metabolic Syndrome
National Library of Medicine
Insulin Resistance
Syndrome X (Metabolic)
Insulin resistance syndrome
Metabolic syndrome X
What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. You can have just one risk factor, but people often have several of them together. When you have at least three of them, it is called metabolic syndrome. These risk factors include

  • A large waistline, also called abdominal obesity or "having an apple shape." Too much fat around the stomach is a greater risk factor for heart disease than too much fat in other parts of the body.
  • Having a high triglyceride level. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood.
  • Having a low HDL cholesterol level. HDL is sometimes called the "good" cholesterol because it helps remove cholesterol from your arteries.
  • Having high blood pressure. If your blood pressure stays high over time, it can damage your heart and lead to other health problems.
  • Having a high fasting blood sugar. Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.

The more factors you have, the higher your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke is.

What causes metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome has several causes that act together:

  • Overweight and obesity
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • Insulin resistance, a condition in which the body can't use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps move blood sugar into your cells to give them energy. Insulin resistance can lead to high blood sugar levels.
  • Age - your risk goes up as get older
  • Genetics - ethnicity and family history

People who have metabolic syndrome often also have excessive blood clotting and inflammation throughout the body. Researchers don't know whether these conditions cause metabolic syndrome or worsen it.

Who is at risk for metabolic syndrome?

The most important risk factors for metabolic syndrome are

  • Abdominal obesity (a large waistline)
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • Insulin resistance

There are certain groups of people who have an increased risk of metabolic syndrome:

  • Some racial and ethnic groups. Mexican Americans have the highest rate of metabolic syndrome, followed by whites and blacks.
  • People who have diabetes
  • People who have a sibling or parent who has diabetes
  • Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • People who take medicines that cause weight gain or changes in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels
What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?

Most of the metabolic risk factors have no obvious signs or symptoms, except for a large waistline.

How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?

Your health care provider will diagnose metabolic syndrome based on the results of a physical exam and blood tests. You must have at least three of the risk factors to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome:

  • A large waistline, which means a waist measurement of
    • 35 inches or more for women
    • 40 inches or more for men
  • A high triglyceride level, which is 150 mg/dL or higher
  • A low HDL cholesterol level, which is
    • Less than 50 mg/dL for women
    • Less than 40 mg/dL for men
  • High blood pressure, which is a reading of 130/85 mmHg or higher.
  • A high fasting blood sugar, which is 100 mg/dL or higher
What are the treatments for metabolic syndrome?

The most important treatment for metabolic syndrome is a heart-healthy lifestyle, which includes

  • A heart-healthy eating plan, which limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. It encourages you to choose a variety of nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
  • Aiming for a healthy weight
  • Managing stress
  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Quitting smoking (or not starting if you don't already smoke)

If making lifestyle changes is not enough, you may need to take medicines. For example, you may need medicines to lower cholesterol or blood pressure.

Can metabolic syndrome be prevented?

The best way to prevent metabolic syndrome is through the heart-healthy lifestyle changes.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Metabolic Syndrome
Blood, Heart and Circulation
Endocrine System
Metabolic Problems
Diabetes Mellitus
What is metabolic syndrome? Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. You can have just one risk factor, but people often have several of them together. When you have at least ...
Body Weight
National Library of Medicine
BMI
Overweight
Underweight

Do you know if your current weight is healthy? "Underweight", "normal", "overweight", and "obese" are all labels for ranges of weight. Obese and overweight mean that your weight is greater than it should be for your health. Underweight means that it is lower than it should be for your health. Your healthy body weight depends on your sex and height. For children, it also depends on your age.

A sudden, unexpected change in weight can be a sign of a medical problem. Causes for sudden weight loss can include

  • Thyroid problems
  • Cancer
  • Infectious diseases
  • Digestive diseases
  • Certain medicines

Sudden weight gain can be due to medicines, thyroid problems, heart failure, and kidney disease.

Good nutrition and exercise can help in losing weight. Eating extra calories within a well-balanced diet and treating any underlying medical problems can help to add weight.


Body Weight
Body Weight Changes
Food and Nutrition
Metabolic Problems
Do you know if your current weight is healthy? "Underweight", "normal", "overweight", and "obese" are all labels for ranges of weight. Obese and overweight ...
Genetic Brain Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Brain Disorders, Inborn Genetic
Maple Syrup Urine Disease
Niemann-Pick Disease
Inborn genetic brain disorders

A genetic brain disorder is caused by a variation or a mutation in a gene. A variation is a different form of a gene. A mutation is a change in a gene. Genetic brain disorders affect the development and function of the brain.

Some genetic brain disorders are due to random gene mutations or mutations caused by environmental exposure, such as cigarette smoke. Other disorders are inherited, which means that a mutated gene or group of genes is passed down through a family. They can also be due to a combination of both genetic changes and other outside factors.

Some examples of genetic brain disorders include

  • Leukodystrophies
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Tay-Sachs disease
  • Wilson disease

Many people with genetic brain disorders fail to produce enough of certain proteins that influence brain development and function. These brain disorders can cause serious problems that affect the nervous system. Some have treatments to control symptoms. Some are life-threatening.


Brain Diseases, Metabolic, Inborn
Brain and Nerves
Genetics/Birth Defects
Metabolic Problems
A genetic brain disorder is caused by a variation or a mutation in a gene. A variation is a different form of a gene. A mutation is a change in a gene. ...
Hyperglycemia
National Library of Medicine
High Blood Glucose
High Blood Sugar

Hyperglycemia means high blood sugar or glucose. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose into your cells to give them energy. Hyperglycemia happens when your body doesn't make enough insulin or can't use it the right way.

People with diabetes can get hyperglycemia from not eating the right foods or not taking medicines correctly. Other problems that can raise blood sugar include infections, certain medicines, hormone imbalances, or severe illnesses.


Hyperglycemia
Endocrine System
Metabolic Problems
Diabetes Mellitus
Hyperglycemia means high blood sugar or glucose. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose into your cells to give them energy. ...
Diabetes Insipidus
National Library of Medicine
DI

Diabetes insipidus (DI) causes frequent urination. You become extremely thirsty, so you drink. Then you urinate. This cycle can keep you from sleeping or even make you wet the bed. Your body produces lots of urine that is almost all water.

DI is different from diabetes mellitus (DM), which involves insulin problems and high blood sugar. The symptoms can be similar. However, DI is related to how your kidneys handle fluids. It's much less common than DM. Urine and blood tests can show which one you have.

Usually, DI is caused by a problem with your pituitary gland or your kidneys. Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. Medicines can often help.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Diabetes Insipidus
Kidneys and Urinary System
Endocrine System
Metabolic Problems
Diabetes insipidus (DI) causes frequent urination. You become extremely thirsty, so you drink. Then you urinate. This cycle can keep you from sleeping or even ...
Carbohydrate Metabolism Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Mucopolysaccharidoses

Metabolism is the process your body uses to make energy from the food you eat. Food is made up of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Chemicals in your digestive system (enzymes) break the food parts down into sugars and acids, your body's fuel. Your body can use this fuel right away, or it can store the energy in your body tissues. If you have a metabolic disorder, something goes wrong with this process.

Carbohydrate metabolism disorders are a group of metabolic disorders. Normally your enzymes break carbohydrates down into glucose (a type of sugar). If you have one of these disorders, you may not have enough enzymes to break down the carbohydrates. Or the enzymes may not work properly. This causes a harmful amount of sugar to build up in your body. That can lead to health problems, some of which can be serious. Some of the disorders are fatal.

These disorders are inherited. Newborn babies get screened for many of them, using blood tests. If there is a family history of one of these disorders, parents can get genetic testing to see whether they carry the gene. Other genetic tests can tell whether the fetus has the disorder or carries the gene for the disorder.

Treatments may include special diets, supplements, and medicines. Some babies may also need additional treatments, if there are complications. For some disorders, there is no cure, but treatments may help with symptoms.


Carbohydrate Metabolism, Inborn Errors
Metabolic Problems
... process. Carbohydrate metabolism disorders are a group of metabolic ... That can lead to health problems, some of which can be serious. Some of ...
Amino Acid Metabolism Disorders
National Library of Medicine

Metabolism is the process your body uses to make energy from the food you eat. Food is made up of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Your digestive system breaks the food parts down into sugars and acids, your body's fuel. Your body can use this fuel right away, or it can store the energy in your body. If you have a metabolic disorder, something goes wrong with this process.

One group of these disorders is amino acid metabolism disorders. They include phenylketonuria (PKU) and maple syrup urine disease. Amino acids are "building blocks" that join together to form proteins. If you have one of these disorders, your body may have trouble breaking down certain amino acids. Or there may be a problem getting the amino acids into your cells. These problems cause a buildup of harmful substances in your body. That can lead to serious, sometimes life-threatening, health problems.

These disorders are usually inherited. A baby who is born with one may not have any symptoms right away. Because the disorders can be so serious, early diagnosis and treatment are critical. Newborn babies get screened for many of them, using blood tests.

Treatments may include special diets, medicines, and supplements. Some babies may also need additional treatments if there are complications.


Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors
Metabolic Problems
... energy in your body. If you have a metabolic disorder, something goes wrong ... Or there may be a problem getting the amino acids into your cells. These ...
Diabetes Complications
National Library of Medicine
Diabetic complications
What is diabetes?

If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. A hormone called insulin helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood.

What health problems can diabetes cause?

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause complications, including

  • Eye disease, due to changes in fluid levels, swelling in the tissues, and damage to the blood vessels in the eyes
  • Foot problems, caused by damage to the nerves and reduced blood flow to your feet
  • Gum disease and other dental problems, because a high amount of blood sugar in your saliva helps harmful bacteria grow in your mouth. The bacteria combine with food to form a soft, sticky film called plaque. Plaque also comes from eating foods that contain sugars or starches. Some types of plaque cause gum disease and bad breath. Other types cause tooth decay and cavities.
  • Heart disease and stroke, caused by damage to your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels
  • Kidney disease, due to damage to the blood vessels in your kidneys. Many people with diabetes develop high blood pressure. That can also damage your kidneys.
  • Nerve problems (diabetic neuropathy), caused by damage to the nerves and the small blood vessels that nourish your nerves with oxygen and nutrients
  • Sexual and bladder problems, caused by damage to the nerves and reduced blood flow in the genitals and bladder
  • Skin conditions, some of which are caused by changes in the small blood vessels and reduced circulation. People with diabetes are also more likely to have infections, including skin infections.
What other problems can people with diabetes have?

If you have diabetes, you need to watch out for blood sugar levels that are very high (hyperglycemia) or very low (hypoglycemia). These can happen quickly and can become dangerous. Some of the causes include having another illness or infection and certain medicines. They can also happen if you don't get the right amount of diabetes medicines. To try to prevent these problems, make sure to take your diabetes medicines correctly, follow your diabetic diet, and check your blood sugar regularly.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Diabetes Complications
Endocrine System
Metabolic Problems
Diabetes Mellitus
What is diabetes? If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. A hormone called ...
Metabolic Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Mucolipidoses

Metabolism is the process your body uses to get or make energy from the food you eat. Food is made up of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Chemicals in your digestive system break the food parts down into sugars and acids, your body's fuel. Your body can use this fuel right away, or it can store the energy in your body tissues, such as your liver, muscles, and body fat.

A metabolic disorder occurs when abnormal chemical reactions in your body disrupt this process. When this happens, you might have too much of some substances or too little of other ones that you need to stay healthy. There are different groups of disorders. Some affect the breakdown of amino acids, carbohydrates, or lipids. Another group, mitochondrial diseases, affects the parts of the cells that produce the energy.

You can develop a metabolic disorder when some organs, such as your liver or pancreas, become diseased or do not function normally. Diabetes is an example.


Metabolic Diseases
Genetics/Birth Defects
Metabolic Problems
Metabolism is the process your body uses to get or make energy from the food you eat. Food is made up of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Chemicals in your digestive ...
Amyloidosis
National Library of Medicine

Amyloidosis occurs when abnormal proteins called amyloids build up and form deposits. The deposits can collect in organs such as the kidney and heart. This can cause the organs to become stiff and unable to work the way they should.

There are three main types of amyloidosis:

  • Primary - with no known cause
  • Secondary - caused by another disease, including some types of cancer
  • Familial - passed down through genes

Symptoms can vary, depending upon which organs are affected. Treatment depends on the type of amyloidosis you have. The goal is to help with symptoms and limit the production of proteins. If another disease is the cause, it needs to be treated.


Amyloidosis
Metabolic Problems
Amyloidosis occurs when abnormal proteins called amyloids build up and form deposits. The deposits can collect in organs such as the kidney and heart. This can cause ...