Metabolic Syndrome overview
Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of conditions that occur together and significantly increase someone’s risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes. The primary issues that constitute metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure and blood sugar, obesity, as well as abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Individuals with only one of these problems probably don’t have metabolic syndrome; however, each one compounds and dramatically increases the chances of further complications. The more you have, the higher your chances of developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease. As such, lifestyle changes are paramount when facing metabolic syndrome.
Identifying metabolic syndrome can be somewhat challenging, as many of the associated disorders don’t have any clear signs or symptoms. One sign that is quite clear is obesity, particularly fat accumulation around the waist. Another potential indicator is symptoms of diabetes, which can present themselves when blood sugar gets high. These include fatigue, blurred vision, as well as increased drinking and urination.
The cause of metabolic syndrome is linked to the various conditions associated with it. That said, one that seems particularly closely linked is being overweight or inactive. Another potential cause is insulin resistance, which results in raised blood sugar despite the body churning out lots of insulin in an attempt to lower it.
The primary risk factors of developing metabolic syndrome include age, ethnicity, weight, and having other diseases. For instance, the risk of metabolic syndrome grows with age and is higher for Hispanic people, especially women, than other racial groups. As discussed, obesity significantly increases the chances of having diabetes or other conditions that lead to metabolic syndrome.
However, other less well-known factors, such as having had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovaries, or even sleep apnea, can all increase the chances of developing metabolic syndrome. Lifestyle changes are the best way to combat the risk of metabolic syndrome, as 30 minutes of activity, a balanced diet, and not smoking are known to lower risk.
Metabolic syndrome is terribly common, with the American Heart Association estimating 47 million people have it in the US alone; That’s nearly one out of every six people. The good news is that most of the more significant issues associated with metabolic syndrome can be controlled with lifestyle changes.
If you’re concerned that you or a loved one could be living with metabolic syndrome, be sure to talk to a doctor as soon as you can. Only they can accurately diagnose any related issues and get you on the right path to positive change.