Do you have high blood pressure or high levels of blood sugar? Do you have abnormal cholesterol levels or excess body fat around the waist? If so, they are signs of metabolic syndrome.
Exercise and losing weight are the most important things you can do to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
This article tells you everything you need to know about the risk of metabolic syndrome, and its symptoms and causes.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is not a disease but a cluster of bad health conditions that raises the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or all three.
It has been hardly three decades since this specific health condition came to the knowledge of the medical fraternity. Fortunately, we now have a lot of accurate information on this dangerous health condition.
According to one of the recent reports by the American Heart Association, about 47 million Americans are already suffering from metabolic syndrome.
It is heartening to know that one out of every five Americans is a victim of this poor health condition.
This health problem, also called Syndrome X or insulin resistance, affects people in their early forties and older.
Most people are unaware of this dangerous health condition, so we should be very cautious. After all, prevention is better than cure.
A section of physicians and medical experts still refuses to acknowledge MS as a specific health condition because it is not a disease per se. But when you learn more about this, you will know it is a severe health issue that needs tremendous attention from everyone.
The most critical characteristic of metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance. This is a bad health condition in which the body’s cells become resistant to the insulin hormone.
Body cells’ resistance to insulin is a pervasive health condition. Most people do not realize that they have this problem until they have already acquired type 2 diabetes or cholesterol-related diseases.
Insulin is a primary hormone that helps the body carry out critical metabolic activities. When insulin metabolism does not function well, other minor hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone will gradually fail to work.
Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
People who have metabolic syndrome exhibit five crucial symptoms. Usually, if you have three of these five symptoms, it is a sure sign that MS’s health condition has affected your health.
A Large Waist Circumference: This is a case of abdominal obesity or visceral fat, an apple-shaped bulging belly. Usually, if the waistline circumference is more than 35″ for women and 40″ for men, it is considered a large waistline.
A High Triglyceride Level: The body requires balanced triglyceride fats, but if the level is higher than normal, it can lead to cardiovascular disease. Normal triglycerides are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL); borderline high triglycerides are between 150 and 199 mg/dL; and high triglycerides are between 200 and 499 mg/dL. (Very high triglycerides = 500 mg/dL or higher.)
A Low HDL Cholesterol Level: The good cholesterol (HDL) level in the blood is very low, and the bad cholesterol (LDL) is higher; this is a bad health condition that will increase the risk of heart disease.
High blood pressure: When the heart pumps the blood, a certain amount of pressure is created, pushing the blood against the artery walls. A balanced amount of pressure is needed for the smooth flow of blood. But if the pressure remains very high most of the time, it will damage the artery walls by building plaque on them. It should generally be less than 120/80 mm Hg (less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic).
High Fasting Blood Sugar: A high blood sugar level indicates condition X, leading to Type II diabetes. (After an eight-hour fast, the blood glucose level is between 70 and 99 mg/dL; two hours after eating, it is less than 140 mg/dL.)
What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is still a baffling health issue to most health experts, as there are no clear reasons why this syndrome develops. Obese people are at greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
It is a health condition that involves many health risk factors. Several reasons are responsible for this, and the grounds also vary from person to person.
As we have discussed above, one of the most significant reasons for MS is a health condition in which the body cells become less responsive to the insulin hormone and the blockage of leptin hormone signals (leptin resistance) to the brain. Hormonal obesity is caused by an imbalance of different hormones in the body.
Abdominal obesity is another reason that increases your risk and can lead to the development of the metabolic syndrome. The belly fat, generally called the potbelly, has long been implicated as its primary culprit.
Visceral fat is a sign of a declining metabolic rate. It is composed of several adipose depots, including mesenteric, epididymal white adipose tissue (EWAT), and perirenal fats, which are bad for health.
Another major cause of this issue is poor dietary habits which include foods high in carbohydrates and fats.
The complications of metabolic syndrome increase with age. It occurs, especially in women, because of changes or imbalances in hormones. Many women develop this condition during the post-menopause period.
If you have just been diagnosed with this issue, there is nothing to be alarmed about; it is a warning that you immediately need to change your diet and lifestyle habits to a healthy one.
Risk Factors For Metabolic Syndrome
The advanced stages of Syndrome X are hazardous health conditions that can lead to fatal diseases.
According to the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, there are five risk factors. Most deaths today are because of Type II diabetes, heart ailments, and cancer, all of which are associated with metabolic syndrome. Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases always follow the condition.
Type II diabetes itself gives rise to several other diseases and health issues. Diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys.
MS becomes severe with tobacco exposure, a lack of physical exercise, unhealthy diets, and the harmful use of alcohol. These will increase the health risks manifold.
A person gradually becomes mentally and physically inactive as MS becomes chronic. They are also very likely to develop diseases associated with the liver and kidney due to weak metabolism and high blood sugar levels.
How To Get Rid Of Metabolic Syndrome?
Getting rid of metabolic syndrome is easy by making suitable changes to your erratic lifestyle habits. Eat weight-loss foods with low-carb and saturated fats.
If you are diagnosed with MS, you should immediately be attentive to adopting healthy diet habits, quitting smoking and alcoholic drinks, losing weight, doing regular physical exercises, and getting 7 hours of normal sleep.
There are also corrective medicines that you can start taking under the guidance of an expert physician. The treatments are needed to lower blood pressure and triglycerides, raise HDL cholesterol, and restore blood sugar levels.
Aspirin-like medications effectively reduce blood clotting, common in patients with syndrome X.
Medicine like statins, fibrates, or nicotinic acid is good for reducing the LDL cholesterol level in the blood. Blood pressure is controlled with medications such as diuretics and ACE inhibitors. High blood sugar can be reduced with insulin injections, or metformin pills taken orally.
Heart disease is more likely to kill than any other disease linked to insulin resistance syndrome. Because of this, they are lowering LDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure should be the top treatment goal.
Controlling Type 2 diabetes is crucial because it can slowly cause the liver and kidneys to stop working.
First, eliminate all the things that put you at high risk for metabolic syndrome. Then, slowly get rid of this condition itself.
As regards weight loss, it is essential to keep your body weight in the range of 18.5–24.9 Body Mass Index (BMI). This condition usually sets in when your BMI is higher than 25.
Lifestyle changes can, by themselves, reverse the metabolic disorders of MS.
There is a commonly noticed tendency among most Americans that they tend to become physically less active as they grow older. One of the main reasons why MS develops and worsens is that people don’t do enough physical activities to burn off the extra fat and sugar in their bodies.
Running and jogging for an hour are good cardiovascular exercises. Still, you must also regularly do a few heavy exercises like push-ups and weight training to eliminate visceral fat accumulation.
A good personal trainer can show you the right exercises and diet to help you lose weight, especially around your stomach.
Maintaining a moderate level of physical activity over those requiring vigorous intensity is always preferable, especially if you are past your prime and on a diet restriction.
Several previous studies have identified smoking as the number one enemy of heart disease, and a risk factor for MS. Smoking should be avoided; it not only destroys your metabolic system but also damages your liver and affects the healthy functioning of the brain as well.
Suppose you do not possess the mental strength and determination to quit your smoking habit. In that case, you should seek the help of smokers’ support groups and rehabilitation programs that would positively help you.
Diet for Metabolic Syndrome
A healthy diet is the best treatment to eliminate metabolic syndrome. Your diet should mainly consist of a variety of vegetables and fruits.
The general rule for a healthy weight loss diet is to consume 60% of your daily calories from vegetables and fruits.
The rest, or 40% of your meal, should consist of whole grains, healthy fats, and proteins.
As few carbs as possible (less than 1,000 calories per day) must be eaten.
In moderation, lean meat, fish, and eggs are delicious and must be included in your daily diet.
If you have high blood pressure, consuming a minimal amount of table salt, which contains sodium, is good. Too much salt skyrockets the blood pressure very quickly.
Strictly say no to soft drinks and soda, and all processed foods with added sugar and high-calorie ingredients.
Consuming whole fruits rather than fruit juices is good. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily, ideally, a glass of water every two hours.
Foods prepared with refined grains and oils are bad for everyone’s health.
People who suffer from metabolic syndrome should consume as little solid fat and trans-fatty acids as possible because they already have weak metabolic health.
Alcohol raises blood pressure and triglyceride levels and adds extra calories; these are bad for patients suffering from MS.
Losing the extra pounds is key to neutralizing the health disorders caused by metabolic syndrome. An excellent way to reduce body weight is to restrict your daily calorie intake to as much as your body needs and engage in physical exercises to help you burn the extra calories stored in your body’s fat cells.
The Mediterranean diet comprises plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts, along with healthy fats and proteins.
Metabolic syndrome is not a disease but rather a cluster of adverse health conditions contributing to Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The primary factors that go into MS health conditions are morbid obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and a rise in LDL.
Metabolic syndrome is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and diet habits followed by a person for an extended period.
Insulin resistance, or the MS health condition, is curable by adopting healthy lifestyles, diets, and medications.