Beginner’s Guide to Metabolic Syndrome

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A Beginner’s Guide to Metabolic Syndrome
You or someone you know probably has metabolic syndrome. It’s a widespread cluster of conditions that affects as many as one out of every six Americans.

Keywords related to this article:
• Metabolic syndrome
• Lifestyle change
• Omega-3 fatty acids
• Obesity
• Inflammation
• Oxidative stress

From Metabolic syndrome is a health condition that everyone’s talking about.
Although the first formal definition of metabolic syndrome entered medical textbooks not so long ago (1998), it is as widespread as pimples and the common cold. According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans have it. That’s almost a staggering 1 out of every 6 people. The syndrome runs in families and is more common among African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American people. The risk of developing metabolic syndrome increases as you age. (end excerpt)

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors that increase the chances of heart attacks, diabetes, and other serious conditions. The main causes are obesity and inactivity.

Since it’s a relatively new diagnosis, many are still unfamiliar with metabolic syndrome. The good news is that lifestyle changes are usually an effective treatment. Learn how to protect yourself and your family from this health issue.

Introduction to Metabolic Syndrome

1. Understand the 5 factors. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome means having at least 3 of the 5 known risk factors. These include excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. The other 2 components relate to unhealthy cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, and low levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol.

2. Look at the big picture. Some experts disagree about whether metabolic syndrome accurately predicts heart conditions and diabetes. Just remember that all 5 of the risk factors are significant and can usually be controlled by eating better and exercising more. The by-product of eating better (clean / organic) is that you may be able to reduce stress in your body. There is a difference between mental stress and physical stress. Generally, this can be measure by heart rate variability.

3. Assess your risk. Obesity, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyles top the list of factors that can predispose you to metabolic syndrome. The condition is also more common among seniors and certain ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.

4. Know your family medical history. Metabolic syndrome runs in families. Talk with your doctor about related conditions that affect you and your relatives. Especially relevant are diabetes, insulin resistance, hormone imbalances, heart conditions, and trouble with blood clotting.

Preventing and Managing Metabolic Syndrome

1. Ask for a diagnosis. Since most symptoms of metabolic syndrome are invisible, it’s important to receive regular medical checkups. Simple tests can measure your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

2. Eat sensibly. Diet plays a big role. Aim to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits. Whole grains and lean proteins, like beans and fish, are also good. Ask your doctor to refer you to a registered dietician or health coach if you’re interested in a special meal plan for diabetes or other conditions.

3. Lose weight. Even small amounts of weight loss can have powerful effects. A 10% decrease in body weight may be enough to lower your blood pressure, control your blood sugar, and normalize your cholesterol levels.

4. Choose healthy fats. The final element in your diet is fat. Your doctor can let you know if it’s advisable to stay below the usual guidelines of obtaining about 25 to 30% of your calories from fats. Whatever the number, focus on monounsaturated sources like olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

5. Exercise regularly. Being active is also essential. Work your way to up to moderately intense exercise for 30 to 60 minutes per day. A gentle walk is a great way to get started. Morning walks may be the best as it’s easier to get sunshine on your face, eyes and skin which also helps to set your circadian rhythm.

6. Quit smoking. Regardless of whether you have metabolic syndrome, avoiding tobacco products is good for your cardiovascular system. It often takes several attempts to quit smoking permanently. Give yourself as many chances as necessary.

Read this article on why Omega-3s may be helpful in reduction or elimination of metabolic syndrome risk factors.
Read this article on why Omega-3s may be helpful in reduction or elimination of metabolic syndrome risk factors.

You may be one of the 47 million Americans who have metabolic syndrome, but simple changes in behavior can dramatically lower your risks. Managing your weight and keeping your heart healthy will help you to enjoy a long and active life.

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