Metabolic Syndrome and Your Health

According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans have Metabolic Syndrome.

7Company Weight Loss and WellnessWhat is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X, a term first used by Dr. Gerald Reaven of Stanford University, refers to a group of medical conditions or risk factors that increases your chances of having a stroke, developing type 2 diabetes and/or heart disease. The four major contributors of Syndrome X are: central obesity, an accumulation of fat in the abdomen and upper body; hypertension, high blood pressure; hyperlipidemia, high concentration of fats or lipids in the blood and hyperglycemia, an excess of glucose in the bloodstream. Presenting with at least two of these factors places an individual within the syndrome.

While the major factors of Syndrome X are linked to obesity, one does not necessarily equate the other. Some men with a waist measurement exceeding 40 inches and some women with a waist measurement exceeding 35 inches, who are not classified as overweight may also be at risk due to combined factors.

When provided with the right foods, a healthy body is able to produce the right chemicals at the right times in the right quantities in order to properly digest the food we eat. As such, some believe that Syndrome X is a problem caused by food (too many carbohydrates, i.e. sugar). For instance, a diet high in carbohydrates causes the body’s insulin (helps the body to balance the amount of glucose in the blood) levels to spike, in turn the cells of the body become less sensitive to the effects of insulin. When cells are not responding properly to insulin the pancreas does its job and produces more insulin to help balance the amount of glucose (sugar energy source) in the blood. Rather than helping matters, this cycle perpetuates the body’s sensitivity or resistance to insulin. After cranking out an excessive amount of insulin over time, the pancreas becomes unable to produce enough insulin causing the glucose levels in the body to raise without a counter balance, often leading to diabetes, hyperglycemia and adverse affects on other organs in the body.

The Effects of Metabolic Syndrome on the Heart

Having just one Syndrome X risk factor can lead to heart disease, but having a combination can more than double your risk of developing heart disease and increases your risk of diabetes five-fold. In one study of more than 700 women, those who had heart disease and the Metabolic Syndrome were more likely to die or have a heart attack or stroke than women with heart disease who did not have Metabolic Syndrome. Some experts say that, in the future, Metabolic Syndrome may overtake smoking as the leading risk factor for heart disease.

Prevention

We have been living in a world of excess and our bodies are now forcing us back into balance if we want to survive. As dire and as complicated as Syndrome X may sound there are ways to prevent and decrease risk factors by focusing on weight management exercise and most importantly diet. The relative superior effect of weight loss over exercise is that if the 15
lb. weight loss is maintained you maintain the benefit. Whereas, the benefits of exercise are reversed, when exercise is stopped.

The solution is a permanent lifestyle change. Our bodies function best when in balance. Many are under the misconception that carbohydrates are the enemy and protein is a cure-all; the real enemy is the lack of balance in our diets and lifestyles. Consuming too many proteins can also have adverse effects by producing an excess of amino acids (found in protein-rich foods) in the body, resulting in an increase of glucose in the blood. Rather than make unrealistic changes like facing a lifetime without bread, it is important to seek out a plan that offers an ideal balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats and includes exercise that suits you so that you keep it up. Many programs restrict your caloric intake but never teach you how to safely re-introduce more calories and different types of food back into your diet once your weight loss goal has been achieved. Most dieters will tell you that the most difficult part of weight loss is keeping it off. An ideal diet will not only include how to get you to a healthy weight, but will also include how to maintain that healthy weight with a balanced diet and lifestyle.

Comments

  1. Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

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