According to the Mayo Clinic,
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions–increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels–that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Know the Risk Factors
Metabolic Syndrome is, in essence, a cluster of conditions. Metabolic Syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that may raise your risk for diabetes, stroke and heart disease. There are multiple conditions that are considered risk factors and in order to have full-blown Metabolic Syndrome a person must have three of the risk factors. These risk factors include:
Waist Size. Excess fat around the stomach makes it difficult for organs to function properly and can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Men who have a waist circumference of 40″ (102 cm) or greater and women who have a waist circumference of 35″ (89 cm) or greater are considered at risk.
Hypertension. A systolic (top number) blood pressure of 130 or more or a diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure of 85 or more is a risk factor. Taking high blood pressure medication is also considered a risk factor.
Low “Good” Cholesterol. An HDL (good) cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL for men, 50 mg/dL for women, or being on a cholesterol medication is a risk factor.
High “Bad” Cholesterol. You’re at risk if you have an LDL (bad) cholesterol of greater than 150 mg/dL or are on a cholesterol reducing medication.
High Fasting Glucose. A fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or higher is also a risk factor.
What Increases Your Risk
Like I said, metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors and in order to be diagnosed, a person must have at least 3 of the risk factors. Imagine there are two different patients. One has low HDL, high LDL, and abdominal obesity. Another has hypertension, high fasting glucose, and high LDL. Both of these patients could be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome but the signs, symptoms and causes of this syndrome could differ between patients. There are certain lifestyle choices and other factors that may increase your risk of developing the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.
Insulin resistance. When a person is insulin resistant their body has a decreased ability to respond to insulin hormone. Their pancreas will end up secreting more insulin but they are unable to respond to the action of the hormone.
Obesity. Abdominal obesity is especially dangerous but being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Poor lifestyle choices. Living an unhealthy lifestyle with poor nutrition and not enough physical activity can also be a factor. Yet again, proper nutrition and physical activity are so important!
Age. As you age your risk of developing metabolic syndrome increases.
Race. Those of Hispanic and Asian decent have a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
What You Can Do to Decrease Your Risk
Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When it comes to your health, this saying couldn’t be more true! Many of the risk factors of metabolic syndrome result from an unhealthy lifestyle, something you have complete control over.
Exercise. Exercise can help control your weight, your blood pressure, and can help increase your HDL cholesterol.
Maintain a healthy body weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight is especially important. If you’re overweight, losing weight is also important.
Proper nutrition. Eating properly is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Make sure you’re getting plenty of servings of fruit and vegetables. If you’re not sure where to start take a look at our Natural Health and Nutrition Pyramid for more information.
Quit smoking. Smoking cigarettes can increase your insulin resistance and is bad for your overall health. Check out our natural smoking cessation supplements for help quitting!
I’ll admit, if you already have one or two risk factors, getting healthy can seem like an overwhelming task. It’s important to start small. Focus on getting enough fruit and vegetable servings each day or set aside 20 minutes for an evening walk each day. Start small and gradually adopt a new healthy habit each month. Your health is so important!
23 1/2 Hours
I mentioned the “ounce of prevention, pound of cure” quote and how it applies to metabolic syndrome and your health. However, lack of time time continues to be one of the biggest excuses people use when it comes to lack of exercise and ignoring their health. Check out this video below on the importance of exercise and how to find time for exercise in your life.