Ep 44 – Metabolic Syndrome and What to Do About It

Metabolic SyndromeThis is an audio blog. You can listen to the podcast of this article below by using the player, or find it on your favorite podcast catcher such as iTunes and Stitcher Radio.

Have you ever heard of Metabolic Syndrome?

It is sometimes called: Syndrome X, cardiometabolic syndrome, insulin resistance syndrome, CHAOS or Reaven’s syndrome (named for Gerald Reaven).

Signs & Symptoms

Metabolic Syndrome is a disorder that is made up of at least 3 of the following 5 disorders:

  1. Hyperglycemia (fasting blood glucose of 100+)
  2. Abdominal Obesity (waist measurement of 40+” for men, 35+” for women)
  3. High Blood Triglycerides (150+ mg/dL)
  4. Low HDL (the good) Cholesterol (<40 for men, <50 for women)
  5. Hypertension (130/85 or higher)

Any one of these factors increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, but add any together and the risk is multiplied. Three or more of these issues and the individual falls into a syndrome that causes a snowball effect that decreases the individual’s quality and length of life.

This disorder often includes: elevated triglycerides, high blood pressure, blood sugar, and excess belly fat are each limiting factors to good health, but people who are sedentary often have low HDL (good cholesterol) which further exacerbates the health risk.metabolic syndrome

Though, not strictly a part of metabolic syndrome, having a high LDL (bad) cholesterol, smoking, and being insulin resistant are risk factors for heart disease and stroke and further complicate this syndrome.

The good news is, that these diseases are reversible if attended to early enough, and treatable if not.

Causes & Risk Factors

  1. Stress
  2. Obesity
  3. Belly fat, especially visceral (under the abdominal muscle)
  4. Sedentary lifestyle
  5. Inflammation
  6. Diabetes
  7. Heart disease
  8. Age
  9. Race (highest risk: African & Mexican American women)
  10. Family history
  11. Other diseases

The first 5 to 7 risk factors above are controllable and can be prevented, or eliminated with lifestyle changes such as regular and frequent cardiorespiratory exercise and smart eating.

The final 6 factors may not be preventable, but their harm may be treatable to reduce further damage.

Other Possible Risk Factors & Causes

  • A fatty liver (excess triglycerides and other fats in the liver)
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (a tendency to develop cysts on the ovaries)
  • Gallstones
  • Breathing problems during sleep (such as sleep apnea)
  • Low testosterone in men

Metabolic Syndrome

Treatment

Metabolic syndrome is initially treated with lifestyle changes, as this is the cause of most of the individual diseases and even when there are genetic factors, attaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best action a person can take to treat and reduce the risks of developing any of the diseases listed above.

The first steps to reversing metabolic syndrome are lifestyle factors which include:

  • Weight loss (if needed) no excess abdominal fat
  • Frequent, daily exercise, mostly cardioresiratory, but resistance exercises are also helpful.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet: limited sugar and starches, limited saturated fats, high fiber, high fruits & vegetables, etc.
  • No nicotine use.

The second step for reversing metabolic syndrome is:

  • Treatment with medication to reduce the risks of: High blood pressure, high triglycerides, and diabetes.

As always, prevention is the best way to protect yourself. Taking this information to heart and living a life with habits that contribute to good health will pay off with less illnesses, diseases, doctor visits and medications. By maintaining your health you will feel more energetic and alive. Good health is given to most of us at birth and we decide how we treat our body. We can take care of it, neglect it, or push it over the edge. The choice is yours.

 

Resources

  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute – http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms

Tips, Tricks, & Hacks

 

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