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What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Discover how to reduce your midlife risk for this precursor to diabetes and heart disease and stroke

You can help prevent metabolic syndrome by maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, losing weight if you’re overweight, and going for regular medical checkups.

Given that this condition impacts 35% of all adults (and risk increases with age) and is considered an indicator of potential type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk, everyone in midlife should learn more about it.

Especially since it’s preventable and treatable.

With the rise in obesity rates among middle age people, diagnosis of metabolic syndrome has risen within our age group. So much so, that medical authorities feel that this condition could overtake smoking as a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Videos on Metabolic Syndrome






Before learning about metabolic syndrome, understanding how our metabolism works is helpful.

Carbs, Glucose and Our Metabolism: A System that Keeps Us Moving

Metabolism is something we’re all concerned about, especially with our midlife health as it tends to slow down as we age. Metabolism helps the body burn nutrients, including sugar, for fuel.

When we digest carbohydrates, it gets broken down into glucose, which is a simple sugar. That glucose is picked up by insulin and transported to the cells of our body for energy.

Metabolism, glucose and carbs work together, fueling our bodies so that we can stroll the malls for holiday shopping, play catch with our kids and run after your dog in your PJs after he darts out of the house first thing in the morning. And other activities we enjoy with a health midlife.

When That System Breaks Down

With metabolic syndrome, something goes wrong. Insulin either does not transport glucose, or the cells don’t welcome that glucose when it’s delivered. This results in way too much sugar in the blood. And that creates a dangerous situation for the body.

Metabolic syndrome is also called insulin resistance syndrome. And if you are insulin resistant, you are at risk for diabetes Type 2, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Combine insulin resistance with other risk factors and you may develop metabolic syndrome.

So, what are those other risk factors?

Besides high blood sugar, other risk factors include:

  • A large waistline
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood)
  • Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol

Diagnosing Metabolic Syndrome

Since metabolic syndrome is a actually a cluster of factors, your physician will have to conduct a variety of simple tests to determine if you’re at risk.

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation to determine if you’re overweight, obese or morbidly obese (waist circumference for men: greater than 40 inches; for women: greater than 35 inches)
  • Blood pressure to determine if you’re more than 130/85
  • Cholesterol test to determine HDL levels (Men: less than 40 mg/dL; Women: less than 50 mg/dL)
  • Blood test to determine if your fasting glucose is greater than 100 mg/dL

Preventing Metabolic Syndrome

The tests listed above provide clues on how to prevent or treat metabolic syndrome. They include:


Eat a healthy diet: Make sure you’re eating a variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. When eating proteins, go with lean meats, poultry, fish and beans. Plus limit your intake of foods laden with cholesterol and unhealthy fats.


Maintain a healthy weight: Reduce your BMI to healthy levels. You can use the calculator below to estimate your BMI. A healthy BMI levels are between 18.5 to 24.9. You can calculate your BMI at the National Heart and Blood Institute.


Get fit and exercise regularly: Fitness over 40 is essential to maintain the your body’s strength and energy as it ages. 30 minutes a day can bring significant benefits. It can help slow down the aging process and keep our metabolism up. Which helps burn calories and keeps our pants from getting too tight.


Be sure to get screened: Knowledge empowers you to take the right course of action for your health. Find out your current your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar numbers. A complete medical assessment will let you know if you’re at risk of metabolic syndrome. If so, your health care provider will advise you of your degree of risk for diabetes Type 2.

Since susceptibility to many of these factors can increase through the aging process, it’s important for those of us in middle age to be aware of the risk. Type 2 diabetes can cause severe issues as we move into our senior years, like eye problems, nerve damage, slow healing of wounds, amputations, and peripheral artery disease.

Other Web resources on Metabolic Syndrome to check out:

American Heart Association: This site provides several pages about this condition from symptoms to prevention.

Comments

Reg
Reply

this is a very informative post 🙂 people will have ideas on how to prevent themselves of having this diseases. to add up, people must be always aware of their health they must take a conscious approach on maintaining a well balanced diet and living a healthy life 🙂

ADULT DIAPERS
Reply

Yep, I defintely have metabolic syndrome, Let myself go a bit. I Stopped all junk and am exercising, scale does not want to budge. Even 5 years ago, if I would have done the same thing, pounds would have dropped quickly. Thick abdominal fat, high BP, high LDL, low HDL, prediabetic fasting glucose levels if I start eating too many carbs, just to name a few of the symptoms I have. No ones fault but my own. Carbs are very problematic for me, eat too many and I get constant painful hunger. Cheers! @RACHEL:)

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