Topic of the Month: METABOLIC SYNDROME

Metabolic Syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions which include the following risk factors:

  • High Blood Pressure – measuring 130/85 mm Hg or higher, or you are taking medication for high blood pressure
  • High Blood Glucose (Sugar) – measuring 100 mg/dL or more when you have a fasting blood glucose test, or you are taking medication for high blood glucose
  • High Triglycerides – measuring 150 mg
  • /dL or more when you have a fasting blood test, or you are taking medication for high triglycerides
  • Low HDL (Good) Cholesterol – levels less than 50 mg/dL for women and less than 40 mg/dL for men as measured by a blood test, or you are taking medication for low HDL cholesterol
  • Central Obesity – meaning your waistline measures more than 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men.

The more metabolic syndrome risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop heart disease or suffer a stroke. Why? High blood pressure can make your heart work harder and strain your blood vessels.  Extra weight also forces your heart and arteries to work harder. High cholesterol levels can lead to plaque building up in your artery walls. This narrows your arteries and restricts the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body.

The blockages are especially dangerous in the arteries leading to your brain, heart, kidneys, and legs. A heart attack results when plaque or a blood clot in a coronary artery completely closes off the blood supply to a portion of the heart muscle. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is cut off by a blocked or burst blood vessel. Within a few minutes without oxygen and nutrients, brain cells begin to die resulting in brain damage or even death.

Reduce your metabolic syndrome risk factors with lifestyle changes!

  • Be physically active – Doctors recommend 30 or more minutes of moderate intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) daily.
  • Lose weight – Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce insulin resistance and blood pressure and decrease your risks of diabetes.
  • Eat healthfully – The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet and Mediterranean diet emphasize fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains while limiting unhealthy fats.
  • Stop smoking – Smoking cigarettes worsens the health consequences of metabolic syndrome.
  • Manage stress – Physical activity, meditation, yoga, and other programs can help you handle stress and improve your emotional and physical health.

For more information on Metabolic Syndrome, watch this video.