03/27/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome?

It is estimated that 50 million Americans have it. Metabolic syndrome, also called insulin resistance syndrome, is a dangerous thing to have. It is a combination of symptoms including:

• Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen).
• Blood fat disorders like high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol that foster plaque buildups in artery walls.
• Elevated blood pressure.
• Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can't properly use insulin or blood sugar).
• Prothrombotic state (high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in the blood).
• Proinflammatory state (elevated C-reactive protein in the blood).

If you have this you are at an increased risk for stroke, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Not good things.

What often goes along with this syndrome is a lack of physical activity. It is more prominent the older we get. Hormonal imbalances and genetic predispositions can also exacerbate this syndrome.

You know what the first line of treatment for this dangerous syndrome is? Weight loss. That's right, the evil weight loss. Along with weight loss, exercise and/or increased physical activity and healthy eating are the key to getting well again.

Metabolic syndrome's complications can kill you. If you are overweight and don't yet have these problems, remember that the older you get, the more likely you are to develop them. If 50 million Americans already have this dangerous syndrome, then you could have it and not know it, will develop it and/or know someone who already has it.

Don't be a victim! Take control of your weight and your health. If you are overweight, start moving more. Eat more fruits and vegetables and decrease the number of calories you take in per day. The key to weight loss is, take in less calories than you burn. That's it.

Good luck and let me know how you're doing.

If you'd like to participate in the research for Irene's new book about the process of weight loss, please visit and take the survey.