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Metabolic Syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, refers to a number of conditions that occur simultaneously and increase the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. People with metabolic syndrome have high blood sugar levels, hypertension (high blood pressure), too much fat around their belly, and unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Metabolic syndrome is a preventable and reversible condition. With certain lifestyle changes, including exercise, eating a healthy and well balanced diet, losing weight, and possibly taking medications as well, it is usually possible to overcome all the conditions and reduce your risk of developing diabetes, or having a stroke or heart attack.
According to the Journal of Diabetes, 36.1% of adult men and 32.4% of women had metabolic syndrome in the USA in 2010. This was a considerable increase from 21.8% and 23.7% respectively in 2002.
A symptom is something only the patient feels, and describes to others, while a sign is detectable by others. An example of a symptom could be pain, and a sign might be a skin rash.
A person with metabolic syndrome should have at least three of the conditions described below:
We know what conditions are associated with metabolic syndrome, but nobody is exactly sure what its causes are. In all cases, there is a close association with "insulin resistance". Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body is able to produce insulin, but cannot use it effectively. Glucose accumulates in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, resulting in pre-diabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.
The main risk factors for metabolic syndrome are:
Doctors are not usually seeking out metabolic syndrome, because it is a collection of conditions which the physician should know about. If the patient has at least three of those conditions, a good health care professional will probably apply the metabolic syndrome label.
To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you need to have three of the conditions listed below:
People who have been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome may become alarmed and anxious. Remember that unlike type 2 diabetes, this diagnosis is a warning, or a wake-up call. Metabolic syndrome is reversible.
Treatment for metabolic syndrome is a question of addressing the three to five health abnormalities. Some people may find this overwhelming - tackling just one, e.g. obesity is hard enough, but all of them....!
It is important to remember that metabolic syndrome is the prelude to some chronic and potentially dangerous diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Once you have a stroke, type 2 diabetes or heart disease it is much harder, some would say impossible, to completely reverse things. With metabolic syndrome it is still not too late - metabolic syndrome is often completely reversible.
In order to tackle metabolic syndrome head-on, you will need commitment to some lifestyle changes, and probably medication to improve the syndrome's components.
Below are some of the lifestyle changes that have been proven to help "cure" metabolic syndrome:
It is important to work together with your doctor and other health care professionals to bring down your weight, find an ideal exercise program and keep it going, reduce your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and adopt all the new lifestyle measures successfully. If any of the metabolic syndrome components cannot be resolved with lifestyle measures, there are medications that can help treat hypertension, cholesterol levels and body weight control.
Bariatric surgery - for obese patients who find it extremely difficult to bring their weight down, bariatric surgery is an option. Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, reported in the journal Heart that bariatric surgery is much more effective in preventing strokes and heart disease than medications. A study carried out at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and published in NEJM found that bariatric surgery reduces the long-term risk of developing type 2 diabetes by over 80% in obese patients.
Vitamin D and elderly people - seniors commonly have low vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome. It is important that elderly patients with metabolic syndrome have healthy levels of vitamin D.
Weight Loss Expert Dr. Kent Sasse discusses Metabolic Syndrome
Written by Christian Nordvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without the permission of Medical News Today.
Sources: Sahlgrenska Academy, Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, American Heart Association, American Academy of Sports Medicine, Journal of Diabetes, Medical News Today archives, National Institutes of Health, National Health Service.
Visit our Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness category page for the latest news on this subject.
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