Metabolic Syndrome

A syndrome is a group of signs or symptoms that, when taken together, indicate an illness or particular risk of an illness. Signs are objective, that is, they are observable or measurable by others. Symptoms are subjective, that is, they are felt or experienced by someone but not readily seen by another person.

 

Metabolic syndrome is group of signs that indicate an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Other names for metabolic syndrome are: Insulin resistance syndrome and Metabolic syndrome X.

 

The signs of metabolic syndrome include:

  • High blood pressure (blood pressure of 130/85 or higher)
  • Body fat clustered around the waist (a measurement of 35 inches or more for women and 40 inches or more for men)
  • High blood triglyceride (a type of fat) level (150 mg/dl or higher)
  • Low HDL (“good” cholesterol) level (less than 50 mg/dl for women and less than 40 mg/dl for men)
  • Fast blood glucose (sugar) level of 110 mg/dl or higher.

 

 

But you don’t have to have all the signs to have metabolic syndrome. If you have three out of five signs, you have metabolic syndrome. Your risk of developing heart disease or diabetes is much greater than those without it.

 

Metabolic syndrome raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes in both women and men. However, it seems to affect women more. Women who have metabolic syndrome have three times the average risk of dying from a stroke or heart attach. They have nine to 30 times the average risk of developing Types 2 diabetes, which is an additional risk factor for heart disease.

 

What can you do to lower the chances of developing metabolic syndrome or reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes if you already have it?

 

  • Do not smoke. (Yes, again)
  • Exercise. (Yes, again) The goal is 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.
  • Reduce your LDL (“bad” cholesterol), blood glucose and triglyceride levels to normal.
  • Reduce your blood pressure to (or keep it) below 130/85.
  • Reduce weight to a desirable level. (BMI of less than 25 – LINK to BMI calculator)
  • Eat a healthy, balanced low-fat, high-fiber diet.

 

Health – it’s about prevention.

 

For more about the metabolic syndrome access

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/metabolicsyndrome.html and

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/women/metabolic.aspx

 

For information about metabolic syndrome in children access

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_73773.html and

http://www.idf.org/home/index.cfm?node=1611

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Mary Lou Bernardo, PhD, MSN

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