Heart-healthy lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment for metabolic syndrome. If heart-healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough, your doctor may prescribe medicines. Medicines are used to treat and control risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high blood sugar.
Goals of Treatment
The major goal of treating metabolic syndrome is to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Treatment is directed first at lowering LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure and managing diabetes (if these conditions are present).
The second goal of treatment is to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, if it hasn’t already developed. Long-term complications of diabetes often include heart and kidney disease, vision loss, and foot or leg amputation. If diabetes is present, the goal of treatment is to reduce your risk for heart disease by controlling all of your risk factors.
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Sometimes lifestyle changes aren’t enough to control your risk factors for metabolic syndrome. For example, you may need statin medications to control or lower your cholesterol. By lowering your blood cholesterol level, you can decrease your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Doctors usually prescribe statins for people who have:
- Heart disease or had a prior stroke
- High LDL cholesterol levels
Doctors may discuss beginning statin treatment with those who have an elevated risk for developing heart disease or having a stroke.
Your doctor also may prescribe other medications to:
- Decrease your chance of having a heart attack or dying suddenly.
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Prevent blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
- Reduce your heart’s workload and relieve symptoms of coronary heart disease.
Take all medicines regularly, as your doctor prescribes. Don’t change the amount of your medicine or skip a dose unless your doctor tells you to. You should still follow a heart-healthy lifestyle, even if you take medicines to treat your risk factors for metabolic syndrome.