Monday, February 16, 2009

What Is Metabolic Syndrome?

The Metabolic Syndrome is also known as Syndrome X or Insulin Resistance Syndrome. This is a prediabetic disease. It affects about 45% to 55% percent of all adults in the U.S. and is considered as strong a risk for early heart disease as smoking. Those with the Metabolic Syndrome have three or more of the following:

• Abdominal obesity (waist measurement of more than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women)
• Triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or greater

• HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
• Systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or greater
• Diastolic blood pressure of 85 mm Hg or greater• Fasting glucose of 110 mg/dL or greater

Researchers are still in the process of proving the common cause of these problems, but most believe they are caused by obesity and insulin resistance — a problem that leads to Type 2 diabetes. The link between all conditions in the Metabolic Syndrome and insulin resistance is very strong. Causes can include:

• Overweight and obesity
• Physical inactivity
• High carbohydrate diets (more than 60 percent of energy intake)• Genetic causes

Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome requires treating each of the health risks individually and includes lifestyle changes such as a diet of fruits and vegetables, good fats, low in salt/sodium, low in saturated fat intake. Physical activity should also become a part of your daily routine. Your doctor will decide which medications will treat these individual symptoms. They may include medication to improve your body's sensitivity to insulin, medication to lower your cholesterol and/or medication to lower your blood pressure. It's very important to follow your healthcare professional's recommendations for treating each symptom to reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Results of a recent study that followed participants for 15 years found that fitness is a key factor in reducing your risks for heart disease and stroke. Low or moderately fit adults had twice the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome as those who were highly fit. The risk increased directly as fitness level dropped off. The younger that people start being fit, the better chance they have of cutting their risk for the Metabolic Syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. This study emphasizes that the development of risk factors for heart disease and stroke isn't just the natural result of aging. Protect yourself from these risks by eating for health and maintaining physical fitness.

Source: Metabolic Syndrome, Medscape, February 2006

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