As if you didn’t have enough to worry about already, you’re now being told that the size of your waist and your risk of heart disease are more significant than ever.
Besides the usual suspects, such as high cholesterol and lack of exercise, there is a “group” of invaders working together to bring you down.
Taken together, they’re called “Metabolic Syndrome” and it’s important to take them seriously.
“Metabolic Syndrome” is a genuine diagnosis used to describe a group of conditions that increase the likelihood of coronary artery disease (the result of fat and cholesterol buildup in the arteries), as well as Strokes and Type 2 diabetes.
We don’t know yet if there are just one or several reasons for this syndrome, but what we do know is that all the risks relate to obesity.
The worst threats are:
➡ Carrying extra weight around the top half and middle of our bodies,
➡ A condition known as insulin resistance, in which our body can’t use the insulin made by our pancreas adequately.
➡ Other conditions that increase our risks, such as aging, hormonal changes and lack of exercise.
Two other problems can either cause the condition or make it worse:
➡ A high degree of blood clotting
➡ A low-level inflammation through the body (which is not uncommon in diabetics).
According to the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, if you have 3 or more of the following signs, you have metabolic syndrome.
- Blood pressure equal to or higher than 130/85
- Fasting blood sugar equal to or higher than 100
- Waist size of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women
- Low HDL cholesterol (High-Density Lipoprotein, which is the “good” kind of cholesterol): under 40 for men and under 50 for women.
- High triglyceride levels (a type of fat in the bloodstream), equal to or greater than 150
If you have 3 or more of the above indicators, the goal will be to cut your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and manage your condition well, if you’re already a diabetic.
Your doctor’s recommendations will include the following:
➡ Lose weight (between 7% and 10% of your current weight). This means eating 500-1,000 fewer calories daily.
➡ Get 30 minutes of “moderate intensity” exercise, like walking, 5 to 7 days per week.
➡ Lower your cholesterol with weight loss, exercise, and cholesterol-lowering medicines, if needed.
➡ Lower your blood pressure using weight loss, exercise, and medicine, if needed.
➡ Some people might be prescribed a daily low-dose of aspirin, (81mg)to prevent blood clots in the arteries.
➡ If you smoke, quit
In conclusion, people diagnosed with metabolic syndrome have a higher risk of heart disease (including atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and peripheral artery disease). But the risks also include :
As with so many other conditions, prevention starts with diet and exercise. This is especially important for anyone with a family history of Diabetes Type 2.
Protect yourself, along with your heart, kidneys, and liver.
➡ Eat a diet low in fat, with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products. Include fish (preferably oily fish) in your diet at least twice a week
➡ Get regular exercise, at least 30 minutes of moderate activity almost every day
➡ Lose weight so that your body mass index (BMI) is less than 25
➡ Manage your blood pressure and blood sugar
➡ Don’t smoke
It’s going to take a concentrated effort, so make sure you have a good support system from your family and friends or seek outside help.
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