Metabolic syndrome is a developing health situation potentially leading to a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, or a stroke if an individual has any three of the following**:
- Waist circumference greater than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
- Triglycerides greater than 150 mg/dL of blood
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), the good cholesterol, less than 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women
- Fasting blood sugar of greater than 100 mg/dL
- Blood pressure of greater than 130/85
**Sourced from StatPearls, a medical database for healthcare professionals
Biologically speaking, metabolic syndrome consists of an altered biochemical state where fat cells, energy metabolism, and hormones are working hard to keep the body in check, but the system is constantly stressed. In particular, “good” fat cells that are metabolically “active” work with others to prevent their growth, and they can release hormones such as leptin work to reduce appetite, and they have a cell component that helps create body heat according to an article from Current Hypertension Reports (2019). These processes are reduced in metabolic syndrome. The cause of the development of this ailment is associated with insulin resistance, and being overweight and physically inactive according to the Mayo Clinic (2019).
Taken together, the excessive consumption of sugary drinks and a high-fat diet can stress the body where it is working hard to clear out external sugar and unnatural fats. Some may be left behind and cause chronic inflammation around the body, some of them being the cardiovascular system and pancreas, and hence cause ever so slight progressive damage long term and may increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes if there is no intervention. The body can potentially be left in a constant inflamed state the less efficient it becomes in clearing out external and foreign substances.
So what can you do if you happen to have at least one of the five criteria for metabolic syndrome described above? Lifestyle modifications are worth a start. Discuss with your healthcare provider on weight management strategies and consider taking up a dieting and exercise plan for the betterment of your health. Doctors, dieticians, and health coaches are great resources to get you started!
Having an annual physical checkup at the doctor’s office is essential. It involves performing a physical assessment, getting your blood work done (make sure you get a cholesterol test), and addressing any health concerns that you may have. More than likely, you don’t have a way of measuring your cholesterol at home, but you are certainly encouraged to perform your at-home blood pressure testing and waist circumference measurement.
Go to the Data Entry section in the Health Data tab and log your measurements. For more information on obtaining accurate measurements, tap the Information icon (‘i’) on the upper-right hand corner when you are at the Data Entry section. Check the Trends sections periodically to easily see whether your measurements are stable over time as you progress.
Also think about adding the following recommended dietary supplements to your DrugLyst: Turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, onions, fish oils, and broccoli where they are collectively antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories and help you better control blood sugar and insulin sensitivity (Source: Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease, 2017). And then follow up on that by actually have these items in your diet in real life.
As a proverbial saying goes, “You are what you eat.”
Mayo Clinic. (2019). Metabolic Syndrome. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351916
Rochlani, Y., Pothineni, N. V., Kovelamudi, S., & Mehta, J. L. (2017). Metabolic syndrome: pathophysiology, management, and modulation by natural compounds. Therapeutic advances in cardiovascular disease, 11(8), 215–225. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1753944717711379
Saklayen M. G. (2018). The Global Epidemic of the Metabolic Syndrome. Current hypertension reports, 20(2), 12. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11906-018-0812-z
Swarup S, Goyal A, Grigorova Y, et al. Metabolic Syndrome. [Updated 2020 May 20]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459248/