Metabolic Syndrome is probably something you have seen or read about in the news lately. But you may not know exactly what it is, or how to know if you have it. Metabolic Syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that has been linked to obesity, and that can increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke (it has also been labeled syndrome X and obesity syndrome). Generally this situation does not have official symptoms, however, patients with Metabolic Syndrome may also:

  • High blood sugar-when diabetes is present
    • Increased thirst
    • Increased urination
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache

So how would you know if you had Metabolic Syndrome? Your doctor would take a clinical history and do some blood work. Here is what they might find:

  1. A large waistline (35+ inches for women; 40+ inches for men)
  2. High Triglycerides—this is a type of fat found in the blood (150 mg/dl) or higher
  3. Low HDL (less than 50 mg/dl for women and 40 mg/dl for men)
  4. High blood pressure (anything above 135/85
  5. High fasting blood sugar (100+ mg/dl)

About 85% of people with type 2 diabetes also have metabolic syndrome. 
So what does metabolic Syndrome have to do with Sleep? In a Study published in the Dec 1, 2010, issue of the journal Sleep researchers found that:

  • Loud Snoring,
  • Difficulty falling asleep,
  • And “un-refreshing” sleep

…may predict development of metabolic syndrome.

This prospective study had 812 subjects who were free from metabolic syndrome or diabetes at baseline, the beginning of the study, and in just 3 years 14% of them had developed metabolic syndrome. Two thirds of the study subjects were women and 36% were African American. While the statistics on predicting Metabolic syndrome from the sleep characteristics in this study were low, the study continues to remind us that every organ system and every disease state can be affected by lack of sleep. So if you snore loudly, have difficulty falling asleep, and wake up feeling “un-refreshed,” see your doctor.


Sweet Dreams,

Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™
Everything you do, you do better with a good night’s sleep™.

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