Also known as Syndrome X or Dysmetabolic Syndrome, metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that are linked to overweight or obesity. It can increase the potential for development of diabetes and heart disease.
According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, a person with metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as someone without metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed when a person has at least three of these heart disease risk factors.
– A waistline of 35 inches or more for women and 40 inches or more for men (A large waistline or abdominal obesity?having an apple shape?has been found to put one at greater risk for heart disease?more so than having excess fat in other parts of the body).
– Elevated triglycerides (150 mg/dl or >).
- Low HDL (<50 mg/dl).
- High Blood Pressure (> 130/85 mg/dl).
- Elevated fasting blood glucose (100 mg/dl or >).
- Insulin resistance .
- Proinflammatory state (elevated C-reactive protein).
- Increasing age.
- Hormone imbalance .
- Family history of diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes.
- Ethnicity/Race-African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans tend to have a greater risk.
Atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries and blood vessels) is a condition found with metabolic syndrome. It is thought that elevated insulin levels may promote the plaque buildup. Plaque buildup can lead to clots. Thus, metabolic syndrome does have a link with heart disease.
Some cancers have been linked with metabolic syndrome. They include breast, prostate and colon.
The incidence of metabolic syndrome is continuing to grow. In the United Statesalone 25 percent of the population has metabolic syndrome. It is preventable.
Treatment of metabolic syndrome includes lifestyle modification, which consist of:
- Regular exercise
- Weight loss
- Stopping smoking
- Following a heart healthy diet, such as a DASH or Mediterranean diet.
Medication may be necessary if lifestyle modification is not effective. This should be discussed with your healthcare practitioner.
Timeout tip: Just what is a Mediterranean type diet? It is a diet composed of generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, along with moderate amounts of meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, and wine. Fat intake is primarily from monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, canola oil, avocado, and nuts. Also, linked with a Mediterranean diet are lifestyle factors. These cultures tend to engage in more physical activity and have a greater social support network. Maybe they just know how to have fun. Remember, laughter is great at lightening things up. One thing you can do anywhere and anytime is smile. It will also relax you.
The above information excerpted from Boomer Be Well! Rebel Against Aging through Food, Nutrition and Lifestyle, Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RD