What is Metabolic Syndrome? And why you don’t want it!

According to the American Heart Association, one of every three U.S. adults today has Metabolic Syndrome! There is nothing good about having Metabolic Syndrome.  Nothing!  There are a lot of bad things …. and no good things!  Well, one good thing  … most people can prevent it and even reverse it!

So, what exactly is Metabolic Syndrome?  It is a group of metabolic risk factors that are associated with markedly increased health problems and death.

The critieria for having Metabolic Syndrome (for people over 16 years old) must include at least 3 of these 5 things:
●  central obesity (fat around the mid-section)  –  for women this is defined as a waist circumference more than 35 inches and for men it is more than 40 inches …
●  elevated blood pressure of 130/85 or taking blood pressure medicine …
●  blood triglycerides level of 150 or more (done as a fasting blood test) …
●  low HDL (good cholesterol) level, or taking medicine for low HDL  …. For women this is defined as less than 50 and for men less than 40 …
●  fasting glucose (blood sugar) of 100 or more or taking medicine for high blood sugar.

You don’t need all 5 criteria, just any 3 and you have metabolic syndrome!  Many overweight and obese people have Metabolic Syndrome, but not all.  A small amount of people who are not overweight have metabolic syndrome because they meet 3 of the other criteria.

What are some of the bad things associated with Metabolic Syndrome?  Here is a basic list:
●  increased risk of fat build-up in blood vessels
●  increased risk of heart attack
●  increased risk of stroke
●  increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes
●  increased risk of chronic low-grade inflammation
●  increased risk of abnormal fat accumulation in your liver
●  increased risk of damage to the brain from inflammation
●  increased risk of premature death

OK, so, it is clear that Metabolic Syndrome is serious stuff!  The good news is that modifiable lifestyle choices can help, even eliminate this unhealthy condition.  Here are the recommended lifestyle choices –
●  if you smoke, stop
●  if you are a heavy drinker of alcohol, decrease it
●  if you are overweight or obese, get your weight down to a healthy level
●  add regular moderate intensity aerobic activity and other activities to improve your physical fitness
●  adjust your diet to eat healthier foods and make appropriate calorie adjustments

The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is recommended by the American Heart Association and is really a smart eating plan with tons of flexibility.  It makes so much good sense for all of us!  Researchers looked at the DASH diet specifically for effects of Metabolic Syndrome.  The findings of the study  were exciting:
●  increased HDL (desired effect)
●  decreased triglycerides (desired effect)
●  decreased blood pressure (desired effect)
●  decreased blood sugar (desired effect)
●  Decreased weight (desired effect)
The study conclusion  –  “The DASH diet can likely reduce most of the metabolic risks in both men and women….”

The management of Metabolic Syndrome takes work!  Oh Darn!!  Every recommendation is good for us anyway …. and …. not addressing Metabolic Syndrome can have devastating results.

This in one more example of my familiar adage  –  be aware and use good judgement!   This one isn’t complicated  … don’t smoke or be a heavy drinker, exercise and eat better!  Any questions??

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One Response to What is Metabolic Syndrome? And why you don’t want it!

  1. Pingback: "Mediterranean Diet" can help Metabolic Syndrome! | Wild Oats

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