Metabolic Syndrome

5 minutes read

Are you frequently dining outside? Finding it hard to fit into your pants? Are you a sedentary office worker or entering middle age? If you identify with any of these, let's have a self-check for Metabolic Syndrome and learn about its causes, diagnosis, and prevention.

5 Self-Checks for Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome, in simple terms, is a cluster of symptoms associated with obesity. Though not a disease itself, it places individuals at high risk for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Metabolic Syndrome is diagnosed when someone has three or more of the following risk factors:

  • Large waist circumference or an "apple-shaped" body: Men with a waist over 90 cm, women over 80 cm.
  • High levels of triglycerides in the blood: Triglycerides over 150 mg/dL or currently on lipid-lowering medication.
  • Low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol in the blood: Men < 40 mg/dL, women < 50 mg/dL.
  • High blood pressure: Systolic pressure ≥ 130 mmHg or diastolic pressure ≥ 85 mmHg, or currently on antihypertensive medication.
  • High blood glucose (sugar): Fasting blood sugar ≥ 100 mg/dL or currently on diabetes medication.

Having one factor doesn't confirm Metabolic Syndrome, but it increases the risk of developing other diseases. The more factors present, the higher the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

5 Causes of Metabolic Syndrome

  1. Insulin Resistance:
    Reduced sensitivity of cells to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar. Factors include genetics, obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle.
  2. Age:
    The likelihood of Metabolic Syndrome increases with age.
  3. Obesity:
    Excess weight, especially abdominal fat, raises the risk of various diseases.
  4. Diabetes:
    Gestational diabetes during pregnancy or a family history of type 2 diabetes increases the risk of Metabolic Syndrome.
  5. Other Conditions:
    Previous non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or sleep apnea further elevate the risk.

5 Prevention Methods to Combat Metabolic Syndrome

  • Exercise:
    Avoid prolonged sitting, move every 30 minutes, and engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise daily.
    Exercise lowers blood pressure and can help prevent type 2 diabetes, and it also helps you feel better emotionally, reduces appetite, improves sleep, improves flexibility, and lowers LDL cholesterol.
  • Weight Management:
    Shedding 7-10% of body weight can alleviate insulin resistance, lower blood pressure, and reduce diabetes risk.
  • Avoid Smoking and Limit Alcohol:
    Quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake significantly contribute to improving Metabolic Syndrome.
  • Healthy Diet - Three Low, One High:
    Choose foods low in oil, sugar, and salt, and high in fiber.
    Embrace the DASH diet by consuming whole grains, fruits, vegetables, skinless poultry, fish, nuts, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats and vegetable protein. Limit processed foods, saturated and trans fats, red meat, sodium and added sugars.
  • Stress Management:
    Stress negatively impacts overall health. Engage in activities like exercise, meditation, yoga, or any stress-relieving activity for better mental and physical health.

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