Mnemonic for Metabolic Syndrome

There are several key features of the metabolic syndrome, which can be easily remembered using the mnemonic “WAIST”

Clinical features of the metabolic syndrome

A mnemonic for the metabolic syndrome is “WAIST”:

  • W – Waist circumference. People with the metabolic syndrome typically have an increased waist circumference, due to excess abdominal fat. Abdominal obesity is defined as a waist circumference ≥35 inches (88 cm) in women and ≥ 40 inches (102 cm).
  • AAtherogenic dyslipidemia. This refers to an abnormal lipid profile, characterized by high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and/or borderline high risk LDL cholesterol. Fasting serum triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L), HDL cholesterol <40 mg/dL (1 mmol/L) in men and <50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women. Borderline high risk LDL cholesterol refers to LDL cholesterol ranging from 130 to 159mg/dL.
  • I Insulin resistance. This is a condition in which the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels.
  • S Sugars. Refers to fasting hyperglycemia defined as a fasting plasma glucose ≥100mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) or on antidiabetic medications.
  • T – Tension in the vessels (HyperTension). Blood pressure ≥130/85 mmHg or on antihypertensive medications

Infographic for this mnemonic

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Grundy SM. Small LDL, atherogenic dyslipidemia, and the metabolic syndrome. Circulation. 1997 Jan 7;95(1):1-4.

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