Do you have high blood pressure or high-level 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 weight loss are the most important steps towards lowering blood pressure and cholesterol level and improving insulin resistance.
This article digs into all the basic facts on the metabolic syndrome you ought to know.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is not a disease but a cluster of bad health conditions that can become a cause for several fatal diseases like Type-II diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, stroke, etc.
It is hardly about three decades since this specific health condition came into the knowledge of the medical fraternity. Luckily, now we have a lot of right information on this dangerous health condition.
According to one of the recent reports released by the American Heart Association, about 47 million Americans already are suffering from metabolic syndrome.
It is heartening to know that one out of every five Americans is a victim of this poor health condition.
Metabolic syndrome is also known as Syndrome X or Insulin Resistance….this is a health complication that is mostly present in people who are in their early forties and above in age.
The vast majority of the people are still unaware of this dangerous health condition that we should be very…very cautious about it. After all….prevention is better than cure.
A section of physicians and medical experts still refuses to acknowledge Syndrome X as a distinct health condition as it is not a disease by itself. But when you learn more about this….you will know it is a serious health issue that needs tremendous attention from everyone.
The single most important characteristic of metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance. This is a bad health condition in which the cells of the body become resistant to the insulin hormone.
Body cells’ resistance to insulin is a pervasive health condition (also called Syndrome X), and most people do not realize that they have this problem until they have already acquired Type-II diabetes or cholesterol-related diseases.
Insulin is a major hormone that helps the body to carry out important metabolic activities. When insulin metabolism does not function well, other minor hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone also will gradually fail to function.
Apparent Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
Five major symptoms indicate whether you have metabolic syndrome. Usually, if you have any three of these five symptoms, it is a sure sign that syndrome X’s health condition has affected your health.
A Large Waistline:- This is a case of abdominal obesity or visceral fat …an apple-shaped bulging belly. Normally, if the waistline circumference is more than 35” for women and 40” for men, it is considered an oversized waistline.[
A High Triglyceride Level:- The body needs to have Triglyceride fats in a balanced amount, but if its level is greater than normal…this will cause cardiovascular diseases. (Normal triglycerides means there are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), Borderline high triglycerides = 150 to 199 mg/dL.,High triglycerides = 200 to 499 mg/dL. And 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 more; this is a bad health condition that will give rise to heart diseases.
High Blood Pressure:- When the heart pumps the blood, a certain amount of pressure is created, and this makes the blood push against the walls of the arteries. 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 up plaques on them. It should normally be less than 120/80 mm Hg (less than 120 systolic AND less than 80 diastolic).
High Fasting Blood Sugar:- High level of blood sugar is an indicator of Syndrome X, which leads to Type-II diabetes. (A normal fasting -no food for eight hours- blood sugar level is between 70 and 99 mg/dL and two hours after eating 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.
In fact, it is a health condition that involves many health risk factors. Several reasons are responsible for this, and the reasons also vary from person to person.
As we have discussed above, one of the most significant reasons for syndrome X is a health condition in which the body cells become less responsive to the insulin hormone and also the blockage of leptin hormone signals to the brain.
Abdominal obesity is another reason that quickly leads to the development of metabolic syndrome. The belly fat, generally called the potbelly, has long been implicated as a primary culprit in causing metabolic syndrome.
Visceral fat is a sign of declining metabolic rate, and it is composed of several adipose depots including mesenteric, epididymal white adipose tissue (EWAT), and perirenal fats which are bad for health.
Another major reason that is responsible for Syndrome X is unhealthy diet habits that consist of a high amount of carbohydrates and fats.
The metabolic syndrome, especially in women, occurs because of the changes or imbalances in hormones. Many women develop metabolic syndrome during the post-menopause period.
If you are just diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, there is nothing to be alarmed about….it is a warning that immediately you need to change your diet and lifestyle habits to a healthy one.
Health Risks Of Metabolic Syndrome
Advanced stages of Syndrome X is a very dangerous health condition that can lead you to fatal diseases.
Most of the deaths in the world today are because of Type-II diabetes, heart ailments, and cancer that are caused by metabolic syndrome. Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases always follow the syndrome X 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.
Syndrome X becomes severe with tobacco exposure, lack of physical exercise, unhealthy diets, and harmful use of alcohol. These will increase the health risks by manifold.
A person gradually becomes mentally and physically inactive as syndrome X becomes chronic. They are also very likely to develop diseases associated with the liver and kidney due to weak metabolism and high-level blood sugar.
How To Get Rid Of Metabolic Syndrome?
It is easy to get rid of metabolic syndrome by making suitable changes in your erratic lifestyle habits.
If you are diagnosed with Syndrome X, you should immediately be paying maximum attention to adopting healthy diet habits, quitting smoking and alcoholic drinks, losing weight, regular physical exercises, and making sure to have 7 hours of regular sleep.
There are also corrective medicines that you can start taking under the guidance of an expert physician. The medicines are required for bringing down high blood pressure, high triglycerides, increasing HDL cholesterol, and balancing the blood sugar level.
Medicines like aspirin are found to be good for reducing blood clotting that usually occurs in patients with syndrome X.
Medicine like statins, fibrates, or nicotinic acid is good for reducing the LDL cholesterol level in the blood. Medicines such as diuretics or ACE inhibitors are used for normalizing blood pressure. High blood sugar can be reduced with insulin injections or metformin pills to be taken orally.
Heart diseases are more fatal than all other diseases associated with insulin resistance…and thus, priority treatment should be aimed at reducing the LDL cholesterol level and high blood pressure.
Extreme care should be taken to control Type-II diabetes as this disease can gradually lead to the failure of several vital organs in the body, including the liver and kidney.
First of all, remove all the high-risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome and then gradually get rid of the syndrome itself.
There is a commonly noticed tendency among most Americans that they tend to become physically less active as they grow older. One of the major reasons for the development and deterioration of metabolic syndrome is the lack of active physical exercises that will burn off the excess fat and sugar storage in the body.
An hour of running and jogging are good cardiovascular exercises, but you need to do regularly a few heavy exercises like push-ups and weight training to get rid of the visceral fat accumulation.
A good physical trainer can guide you through the right kind of exercises and diet to be followed to reduce body weight, especially abdominal fat.
It is always good to maintain a moderate level of physical exercise than doing those which require vigorous intensity, especially if you have crossed the prime of age and are on diet restriction.
Several studies in the past have pointed out smoking as the Number 1 enemy of heart diseases and for aggravating syndrome X’s health risks. Say NO to smoking…it not only destroys your metabolic system but also damages your liver and affects the healthy functioning of the brain as well.
If you do not possess the mental strength and decisive determination to quit smoking habit addiction, you should take the help of smokers’ support groups and rehabilitation programs that would positively help you.
Diet Remedy For Metabolic Syndrome
A healthy diet is the best care you can adopt to get rid of metabolic syndrome. Your diet should mostly consist of a variety of vegetables and fruits.
The thumb rule for a healthy weight loss diet is to have a good mixture of vegetables and fruits as 60% of what you eat at every meal.
The rest 40% of your meal should consist of whole grains, healthy fats, and proteins.
The carbohydrate intake must be as minimal as possible (less than 1000 calories per day).
Lean meat, fish, and egg in moderation are very good and must be included in your daily diet.
If you have high blood pressure, it is good to consume a very little amount of table salt which contains sodium. Too much salt skyrockets the blood pressure very quickly.
Strictly say NO to soft drinks, sodas, 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; a glass of water every two hours.
Foods prepared with refined grains and refined 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 it adds extra calories; all of these are bad for patients suffering from syndrome x condition.
Losing the extra pounds is key to neutralizing the health disorders caused by metabolic syndrome. A good way to reduce body weight is to restrict the daily calorie intake to as much as the body really needs and also engage in physical exercises that will help you to burn the extra calories that are stored in the fat cells of your body.
Some studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet is more suitable for people who suffer from metabolic syndrome.
The Mediterranean diet primarily consists of plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts with healthy fats and proteins.
The Bottom Line
Metabolic syndrome is not a disease but a combination of bad health conditions that trigger Type-II diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The major factor that goes into Syndrome X health condition is morbid obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and a rise in LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Metabolic syndrome is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and diet habits followed by a person for a long period.
Insulin resistance or the syndrome X health condition is curable by adopting healthy lifestyles, diets, and proper medications.