A complex, diverse collection of signs and symptoms associated with increased blood sugar, blood lipids, and blood pressure during aging. Sedentary lifestyles lead to weight gain and abdominal (apple-shaped) obesity during aging. Each of these traits is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in general and, specifically, coronary heart disease, but the combination of these traits dramatically increases the risk. Insulin resistance is also related to type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. Insulin resistance, in which high levels of insulin are secreted to lower blood sugar levels, is an underlying imbalance in metabolic syndrome. High blood insulin levels signal the body to make more fat from glucose, thereby increasing the levels of blood triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein), the “bad” form of cholesterol, while decreasing blood HDL-cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein), the beneficial form.
Significantly, each of the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome can be reduced by lifestyle changes such as diet. To decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome and related disorders, middle-aged people should exercise regularly and reduce daily calories to lose extra weight and improve blood pressure. Obesity triggers insulin resistance, therefore weight management is a key. Shifting from a diet high in saturated fat to one enriched in monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil and canola oil can also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce high blood pressure.