Diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Metabolic syndrome is defined as 3 of the 5 listed below:

  • Fasting triglycerides–A certain kind of fat found in your blood. Higher than normal is 150 mg/dL (1.6 mmol/L) or higher.
  • Fasting blood glucose—This means 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) or higher.
  • Blood pressure—Higher than normal is defined as a reading 130/85 mm Hg or more.
  • • Extra fat around the waist or belly. It’s defined as:
    • Waist size 40 inches (102 cm) or more in men (may differ based on your ethnic background or size)
    • Waist size 35 inches (89 cm) or more in women (may differ based on your ethnic background or size)
  • Fasting HDL cholesterol—HDL is the good cholesterol. This breaks down and removes bad cholesterol from the body. It's defined as:
    • Less than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) in men
    • Levels less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women

Tests Done In a Doctor's Office

  • Measure the waist around the hips and belly button
  • Take your blood pressure

Blood Tests

A fasting test means you should stop eating after dinner the night before. In the morning, blood will be taken for:

  • Glucose levels
  • Cholesterol levels:
    • Total cholesterol
    • Triglycerides
    • LDL cholesterol—bad cholesterol
    • HDL cholesterol—good cholesterol


Metabolic syndrome. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/nutritional-disorders/obesity-and-the-metabolic-syndrome/metabolic-syndrome. Updated December 2016. August 27, 2018.
Metabolic syndrome. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome. Accessed August 27, 2018.
Metabolic syndrome in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated March 29, 2018. Accessed August 27, 2018.
Symptoms and diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome/symptoms-and-diagnosis-of-metabolic-syndrome. Accessed August 27, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 8/27/2018

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