Metabolic Syndrome

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a term that is used to describe a set of characteristics that increase the probability of a person developing cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes.

The identifying characteristics of this condition include high blood pressure, a high level of triglycerides, a low level of HDL cholesterol, a high fasting glucose level and obesity in the abdominal area.

Individuals who have at least three of the above characteristics have metabolic syndrome. Some of the causes that intensify these risk factors include resistance to insulin, a hormonal imbalance, eating unhealthy foods and failure to participate in physical activities.

What are the Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome?

Individuals can visit their doctor and have blood tests performed to determine if they have the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Symptoms include

Blood pressure levels should not be higher than 135/85 mm Hg. High triglyceride levels include readings that are 150 mg/dL or above. HDL cholesterol is also known as the good cholesterol and for men, this level should be under 40 mg/dL and for women it must register below 50 mg/dL.

High fasting blood sugar must be 100 mg/dL or above for both men and women. Individuals can use a cloth tape measure to find out the circumference of their waist. The metabolic syndrome risk factor for men is a waist that measures over 40 inches and for women, their waist should not exceed 35 inches.

Metabolic Syndrome Causes

Being overweight, obese and having a sedentary lifestyle are all closely associated with metabolic syndrome. This condition is also linked to insulin resistance. In healthy digestive systems, the system breaks foods down into sugar. The pancreas then makes insulin that allows sugar into cells so that it becomes fuel. But when the cells don’t respond to insulin properly, sugar from food can’t easily get into cells. This causes the level of sugar in the blood to increase as the body keeps making more insulin in an attempt to handle the extra sugar. This condition is more common for older people, and people of Mexican ancestry are more likely to develop it.

Perhaps the largest risk factor of developing this condition is being obese. Having too much weight in the abdomen is especially risky. For those who have had gestational diabetes, developing metabolic syndrome later is more likely. If you have family members who have type 2 diabetes, you are more likely to develop this condition. You are also at a higher risk if you have had polycystic ovary syndrome, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or cardiovascular disease.

How is Metabolic Syndrome Treated?

The treatment plan to reduce the risks for metabolic syndrome is making healthy lifestyle choices to reduce or prevent heart disease and diabetes. Individuals can begin by eating nutritious foods and performing physical exercise every day.

Not only is this better for a person’s heart, but it leads to excess weight loss. Physicians can also prescribe medications that will lower a person’s blood pressure, reduce their cholesterol levels and prevent the formation of blood clots.

Metabolic Syndrome Prevention

One of the best ways to prevent metabolic syndrome is to stay at a healthy weight. This condition is far more common in the obese, so losing weight and getting into a healthy weight range is important for avoiding, or even ending, this condition. Strive to eat a diet that is low in fat and sugar and high in fiber and vitamins. Get more exercise to avoid living a sedentary life. Even daily walking can help you to lose weight and live a more active life. Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. If you smoke, make an effort to quit. An overall healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward preventing this syndrome.