Metabolic syndrome is a medical term used to describe a number of conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease. Some of the risk factors include diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 30 percent of adults in the United States suffer from metabolic syndrome. Here we look into how insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are corelated.
Understanding Insulin Resistance
When you eat food, your body transforms the food into glucose, which is a form of sugar. The pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps transport glucose into the cells in your body where the glucose is then used as energy.
If the body’s tissues and cells stop responding to insulin, insulin resistance occurs. When you suffer from insulin resistance, your body will begin producing more and more insulin. Because your cells do not properly respond to the insulin created in the pancreas, your body will not be able to properly utilize glucose.
Insulin resistance goes hand in hand with a number of health issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes. When you have several of these medical issues at the same time, this is referred to as metabolic syndrome. These health issues increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Other names for this condition include syndrome X and insulin resistance syndrome.
Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome does not have a specific set of signs or symptoms; however, there are numerous indicators of metabolic syndrome. For example-
- Excess weight around the waist can be an indicator of metabolic syndrome.
- If you have high blood pressure, you may experience frequent headaches.
- For those who have diabetes, unusual thirst and frequent urination are common.
Causes of Metabolic Syndrome
A number of health issues act together and cause metabolic syndrome. Some common causes that increase your risk of developing metabolic syndrome include-
- Consuming too many calories and too much saturated fat.
- Lack of exercise and physical activity.
- Insulin resistance and those with a family history of these metabolic syndrome risk factors.
Diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome
When you visit your health care provider, s/he will perform a physical exam along with a few blood tests. If three or more of the following are true, you may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome:
- Over Weight – Your Body Mass Index (BMI) score places you in the overweight or obese category and much of your weight may be carried in your midsection. Women with a waist measurement larger than 35 inches and men with a waist measurement large than 40 inches are considered higher risk.
- High Blood Pressure – Your blood pressure is higher than normal. If your blood pressure readings are higher than 130/85, or you take blood pressure medications to control your blood pressure.
- High Sugar – Your glucose levels while fasting are greater than 100 mg/dL or you take medications to reduce your glucose levels.
- High Triglycerides – Your triglycerides are greater than 150 mg/dL, or you take cholesterol medications to control your triglyceride levels.
- Low Good Cholesterol – Your good cholesterol (HDL) levels are lower than 40 mg/DL.
How to Overcome Metabolic Syndrome?
Whether you are trying to prevent metabolic syndrome or overcome it, it is advisable to make certain lifestyle modifications, which will help you reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health issues. Below are some steps you can take to improve your health.
- Healthy Weight – Carrying excess weight around your midsection is extremely unhealthy. Burning abdominal fat or exchanging the fat for muscle will improve your overall health.
- Get Physical – A sedentary lifestyle is one of the greatest risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Doctors recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. In addition to cardio exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling, you should include two days of strength training exercises.
- Diet – You should eat a healthy diet which includes fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to increase your fiber intake, which will help decrease your cholesterol levels and help you lose weight. In addition to this, limit the amount of sodium, sugars, and saturated fat in your diet.
- Alcohol – Although you can enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage, you should limit your consumption to reduce the risk of liver damage and insulin resistance.
- Cigarettes – If you smoke, talk with your doctor to determine the best stop smoking plan. There are plenty of smoking cessation methods on the market. Your doctor can help you pick the best one for you.
Learning how to improve your health through proper diet and the recommended amount of exercise is typically enough to prevent the development of metabolic syndrome. If you have any underlying medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, your risk of developing metabolic syndrome increases. Be proactive and take control of your health today with the help of our integrative health care providers.