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Metabolic Syndrome: Information for Professionals What is the metabolic syndrome? The metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. They include: Central obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen) Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders — mainly high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol — that foster plaque buildups in artery walls) Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body cant properly use insulin or blood sugar) Prothrombotic state (eg, high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor [1] in the blood) Raised blood pressure (130/85 mmHg or higher) Proinflammatory state (eg, elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in the blood) The underlying causes of this syndrome are overweight/obesity, physical inactivity and genetic factors. People with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease, other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls (eg, stroke and peripheral vascular disease) and type 2 diabetes.