What is Metabolic Syndrome ?
Metabolic syndrome refers to a condition in which an individual suffers from a group of risk factors, making him or her vulnerable to developing more serious medical problems. A person with this condition possesses more than one of the metabolic disorders occurring at the same time. He or she suffers from a combination of any of the following – elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure, abdominal obesity and cholesterol abnormalities.
Prompt treatment for Metabolic Syndrome is extremely important because the condition may exacerbate into more severe health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Each treatment program is specifically designed for the patient based on the underlying cause of the syndrome. Those affected are often required to make drastic lifestyle changes in order to treat the condition effectively.
How common is Metabolic Syndrome ?
The condition is relatively common as it affects 1 in 4 individuals. It has been estimated that over 47 million people in the US suffer from this syndrome. Studies have also shown that it can be inherited and certain races are predisposed to it, such as the Native Americans, Asians, Africans and Hispanics. The chances of developing the condition increase with age as well as the level of obesity. Metabolic disorder is something people should be worried about as it increases their chances of developing dreadful medical conditions such as stroke, heart attacks and diabetes.
Causes of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome consists of different disorders related to the body’s metabolic process. Under normal conditions, food is metabolized in the digestive system into glucose or sugar that can be used as fuel by the cells and tissues. However, glucose can only gain access to the cells with the aid of insulin. People suffering from insulin resistance have difficulty using the glucose, so the body makes more insulin. This results in excessive amounts of both insulin and glucose in the body. Increased blood sugar levels could easily result to diabetes, while high insulin would lead to elevated fat, triglyceride and blood pressure levels.
Complications brought about by Metabolic Syndrome
The syndrome should not be underestimated, instead it must be considered as a wake-up call by the affected individual to do the necessary steps to prevent the condition from worsening. If metabolic syndrome goes untreated, the following diseases could eventually arise.
- Heart disease
Heart diseases will likely occur due to the high blood pressure and cholesterol as these can cause the arteries to get blocked by plaques which may lead to stroke or heart attack.
Untreated insulin resistance will eventually result in diabetes.
It is best to seek medical advice even if the person exhibits only one of the metabolic risk factors as the other components could be existing but not obvious to the person.
Signs and symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
The syndrome is manifested by different disorders affecting the body’s metabolic process, and these are:
- Increased levels of blood sugar
The affected individual has high blood sugar level at over 5.6 mmol/L (millimoles/liter).
- Elevated cholesterol level
People with the syndrome also have high levels of triglycerides (blood fat) at more than 1.7 mmol/L, and low level of HDL cholesterol below 1.3 mmol/L for women and 1.04 mmol/L for men. Find out how to lower cholesterol naturally.
- High blood pressure
Individuals suffering from the disorder have systolic blood pressure of over 130 mm HG and diastolic blood pressure of over 85 mm Hg.
Sufferers often have waist measurements of more than 102 cm (or 40 inches) for men or 89 cm (or 35 inches) for women.
Diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome
Diagnosing the syndrome includes checking the complete medical history of the patient as well as conducting a physical examination and blood tests. The doctor will then compare the test results to the guidelines for Metabolic Syndrome diagnosis, which include:
- Low HDL
- High Triglyceride
- Large waist line
- Increased blood sugar level
- High blood pressure
Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome
The treatment for metabolic syndrome involves addressing the underlying cause to reduce the risk of medical complications. In some cases, treatment plans are designed to prevent the complications from aggravating further.
- Eating healthy
The patient is required to follow a diet that is specifically tailored for him or her. This is especially important to help in losing weight and reduce the risk of diabetes.
- Engaging in regular exercise
Spending at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise everyday helps in lowering the blood pressure, achieving healthy levels of cholesterol and promote insulin sensitivity. Patients are also urged to quit smoking.
- Taking medications
If high cholesterol and blood pressure are not managed with healthy diet and exercise, then the patient needs to take medications to address the condition.
- Surgical intervention
Surgical intervention to remove excess fat could be an option as well.
Metabolic Syndrome is something people should be aware of and take action against to reduce the probability of more serious medical complications. f