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Halting the Metabolic Syndrome

Posted on January 27, 2019 | No Comments on Halting the Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a term for a condition in which risk factors—such as abdominal obesity, high triglyceride level, low level of good cholesterol (also known as high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or HDL-C), high blood pressure, and high blood sugar—cluster together, putting a patient at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and stroke.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, a person who has metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as someone who doesn’t have the condition.

However, having even a single risk factor will raise a person’s risk of heart disease. Therefore, it is imperative to try to control every risk factor one has to reduce risk. By following these dos and don’ts, you soften the blow that metabolic syndrome throws at your health.

DOs:

See your doctor. Having at least one component of metabolic syndrome (e.g., high blood pressure, abnormal blood cholesterol level, or abdominal obesity) may mean that you are already at risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, or stroke. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor. Ask whether you need to get tested for other components of metabolic syndrome and what you can do to avoid its serious complications.

Make taking notes a habit. Keep track of any significant changes in your body by writing them down or keeping a file of your lab test results. By doing this, you will then have answers at hand should your doctor ask for a certain instance in your day-to-day life with regard to the state of your health. Also, this will make your statements accurate, making it easier for your doctors to diagnose your condition.

Commit to a healthy lifestyle. You can definitely do something to prevent metabolic syndrome and its serious complications. Start by making lifestyle changes. Load up on fiber from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, exercise regularly, and schedule regular checkups. Eliminating too much salt in your diet by replacing it with herbs and spices could significantly reduce your risk for hypertension. Besides trimming your waistline, exercising regularly will help you increase your level of HDL-C, lower your triglycerides, blood pressure as well as blood sugar. In fact, those who are less physically active have higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, and obesity-linked diseases.

DON’Ts:

Live like a couch potato. A study by the American College of Sports Medicine found that children who indulge in sedentary living were more likely to have stiffer arteries, which amps their chances of acquiring high blood pressure and heart ailments, compared to those who moved about and were physically active. Thus, leading a sedentary lifestyle or being a couch potato is as treacherous as smoking.

Smoke. Studies have shown time and again that smoking causes lung cancer, and is associated with cardiovascular diseases. In fact, smoking narrows the arteries, which increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and, eventually, heart disease and stroke.

Load your diet with trans- and saturated fats. A diet high in saturated fat is a risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis—the accumulation of fat deposits in the walls of the arteries. This causes the narrowing of the arteries, which restricts the flow of blood to the body’s vital organs. If the heart arteries (coronaries) are affected, it may cause myocardial infarction or heart attack; if the blood vessels going to and in the brain are affected, it may cause stroke. Reducing your level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C or bad cholesterol) and increasing your level of good cholesterol will help prevent the development of atherosclerosis. This can be achieved through regular exercise and intake of medications, such as statins, fibrates, and niacin. However, it is very important that you consult your doctor first before taking any of these drugs.

Metabolic syndrome is said to affect one in five people, and its risk increases as a person ages. Therefore, it is extremely important to adhere to a healthy lifestyle as early as possible to prevent this condition and its serious complications.

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