The Metabolic Syndrome: Large Waistlines and Inactivity

Heart Health Month continues. Following on with the heart theme and showing our care for our pumping muscle, the post today is about the metabolic syndrome. With the increasing rates of obesity, more and more people are being diagnosed with the metabolic syndrome and it is becoming more widespread than before.

The metabolic syndrome also known as syndrome X is not a disease on its own rather it’s a combination of different risk factors that may lead to cardiovascular diseases or diabetes. The below table indicates the risk factor and its defining level. A combination of any three of the factors constitute a diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome.

Risk Factor Defining   Level
Abdominal   Obesity Waist   Circumference
        Men > 102   cm (>40 in)
        Women > 88 cm   (>35 in)
Triglycerides ≥ 150 mg/dl
HDL   cholesterol
        Men < 40   mg/dl
        Women < 50   mg/dl
Blood   pressure ≥ 130 mm Hg systolic or ≥ 85mm Hg diastolic Blood Pressure
Fasting   glucose ≥ 100   mg/dl

Heredity plays a role whether a person will develop metabolic syndrome, but abdominal obesity or large waistlines and lack of physical activity are the main underlying causes.

Metabolic syndrome is also related to a condition called “insulin resistance”. Insulin is the hormone by which cells metabolize glucose so that they can use it for energy. With insulin resistance, the body cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Abdominal obesity and the excess circulating fatty acids lead to an increase in insulin resistance. This resistance is one of the causes behind the etiology of type 2 diabetes.

What to do if you have the metabolic syndrome?

If you have the metabolic syndrome, it is imperative for you to follow the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes program ( TLC) discussed in a previous post. TLC will help you reduce your LDL cholesterol as well as reverse or reduce all the metabolic syndrome’s risk factors; hence, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.                                                                                           Summing  up the key points to treat metabolic syndrome:

  • Achieve a healthy weight
  • Be physically active
  • Follow the TLC diet
  • Stop smoking
  • Drink only in moderation
  • If these changes do not work for you, your doctor might suggest medication to control the specific risk factors that you suffer from.

As  you can see, an active healthy lifestyle is the basis for avoiding many life-threatening conditions including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

So this February, love yourself! Get healthy and get moving !! :)

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