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The Metabolic Syndrome

The Metabolic Syndrome

  • July 22, 2019

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a constellation of risk factors that, when appear together can lead to cardiovascular conditions, diabetes and stroke. It increases your risk for non-cardiovascular disease as well.

Most people who have MetS already have a related condition of Insulin Resistance, which coincidentally is also responsible for PCOD in females. After the food we eat is converted into a type of sugar called glucose, insulin is what enables the glucose to enter the body’s cells and be used as energy. For someone who is insulin resistant, however, the glucose builds up in
the blood.

When are you diagnosed with MetS?

You may have MetS if at least 3 of the following symptoms are observed:

  • Fat at waist area: Obesity overall increases your risk for MetS, however, excess belly fat is the riskiest. While it may vary basis ethnicity, usually waist of more than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women qualifies as excess belly fat
  • High blood pressure: If your blood pressure levels are 140/90 mm/Hg and above consistently, it is considered as a risk
  • High Triglycerides level and Low HDL Cholesterol: Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. A reading of 150 mg/dL or greater (may vary per laboratory range), or being on medicine to treat high triglycerides amounts to a risk factor. HDL’s are know as “good cholesterol”, it helps clear damaging cholesterol from your arteries
  • High Fasting Glucose (Blood Sugar): A fasting reading of 100 mg/dL or higher, or being on medication to treat high blood sugar, a fasting blood sugar count of 140 mg/DL (after fasting) indicates prediabetes , and above 126 mg/dL indicates diabetes

Treating MetS

Medications and Lifestyle changes go hand-in-hand while combating the metabolic syndrome. The aim is to control problematic health conditions contributing to increased risk.

  • Lose weight: It is quite essential to reach a healthier body mass index (BMI). Your doctor or dietitian can help you identify a plan and pace that makes the most sense for you
  • Adopt a healthier diet: What you really need is not a weight-loss fad diet but a new eating plan that is healthy and compliments your new lifestyle
  • Move more: Even if you’ve never exercised before, you can start now and markedly reduce your risks. Even moderate amounts of activity will make a difference with heart markers. Walking is a good starter plan for many people. Talk to your doctor to get the go-ahead on the types of workouts you want to try
  • Quit smoking: Ask your doctor about support programs that can help. If you don’t smoke, try not to be around people who do
  • Limit alcohol: Drinking heavily can raise blood pressure and contribute extra empty calories
  • Take your prescribed medications: In addition to the medications used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar, those individuals at very high risk may be prescribed other medications to help manage diabetes and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

A wake up call

A recent study of over 420 volunteers indicated that about 41% of those screened were found to have MetS. These numbers and a self assessment of risk factors should be enough of an incentive to effect the changes you need to make in your lifestyle under guidance from your physician.

About the Author

Dr. Abhay Vispute
MD (Internal Medicine)
Medical Director, SRV Group of Hospitals

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