New review shows a strong association between anxiety and metabolic syndrome (MetS)

A recent meta-analysis of previous studies on MetS and anxiety concluded that there is a strong association between MetS and anxiety. This is more evidence that chronic diseases often involve mood / psycho-emotional problems (

Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is a major risk for heart disease and diabetes mellitus. MetS is also associated with systemic inflammation, which a risk factor for other chronic diseases like cancer. MetS refers to a cluster of abnormal changes in the body. MetS is diagnosed using a set of pathology tests and also clinical assessments. Lab tests include inflammatory markers (CRP), blood glucose levels, cholesterol, blood levels of triglycerides  and insulin levels. Clinical assessments of blood pressure, BMI and sometimes waist-to-hip ratio, are important indicators of those who are at risk for MetS and DBII.

It has been known for sometime depression is strongly associated with obesity and inflammation however MetS does not consider mood or psychological state as important indicators of those who are at risk of MetS or who have been diagnosed with it.  Depression is not a single disease but is a spectrum of mood / emotional and phycological symptoms that overlaps with anxiety disorders. It is common for people with depression to also feel anxious to the point it interferes with their lives. Many patients may suffer frequently from anxiety and depression and are treated for both.

Perhaps part of the reason for the lack of integration of psycho-emotional and psychical problems is that we live in a culture of specialization and reductionism. We typically  seek a psychologist for help with our mood , self-confidence or to change behaviour. We see a GP for physical problems.  In reality these compartmentalized  aspects of ourselves are not separate but one and science is beginning to reveal this with ample evidence that mind and body are an integrated system.

It is understandable people with MetS  suffer from anxiety . Anxiety is a prevalent in modern society and it can affect anyone. Being in an anxious state can drive behavior that leads to ill health. Self-medicating, excessive alcohol , lack of exercise, comfort eating , lack of sleep,  isolation are all associated with leading to one or more of the  abnormal changes that are measured for MetS.


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