Metabolic syndrome is the term used to describe a collection of obesity related disorders that often occur together. These disorders include high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, abdominal body fat and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Obesity increases your chances of developing those disorders and as such, may lead to you being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
Risk Factors Associated with Metabolic Syndrome
You’re said to have metabolic syndrome once you have three or more simultaneously occurring disorders related to metabolism. These disorders are:
- Hyperglycemia. Also called high blood sugar, this occurs when you have higher than 100 milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood at a fasting glucose level. Over time and if not treated, hyperglycemia can lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Hypertension. Hypertension is a medical condition in which there is increased blood pressure in the arteries. Normal blood pressure is around 120/75mmHg, while high blood pressure is anything higher than 140/90mmHg. Hypertension is associated with the onset of heart and kidney diseases.
- Hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidemia is a condition where someone has high levels of triglycerides (over 150 mg/dL) and low levels of “good” cholesterol (under 40 mg/Dl for men and 50 mg/dL for women). Hyperlipidemia may lead to a heart attack or stroke.
- Obesity. Specifically, the build-up of abdominal body fat. Generally, that entails more than 40 inches around the waist for men, and more than 35 inches around the waist for women.
Preventing Metabolic Syndrome
Because the conditions that make up metabolic syndrome rarely have symptoms in their early stages, it’s possible that you may have some of these health issues and not know it. The conditions that make up metabolic syndrome are easily testable, so checking with your doctor is recommended for a proper diagnosis.
To reduce your chances of developing those conditions, you can:
- Eat a healthy diet low in fats, cholesterol and salt, and high in lean protein and whole grains.
- Quit smoking, as it may lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar.
- Maintain a healthy and active lifestyle
Similarly, you would treat metabolic syndrome by addressing its risk factors. This is done in the same way as you would to reduce chances of developing the risk factors to begin with (i.e. healthy diet, active lifestyle, quitting smoking). Making changes like that in conjunction with weight management and medications—such as medication for high blood pressure—can help to reduce the risk of complications developing as a result of metabolic syndrome’s conditions.
If you have been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome and have been struggling with obesity for an extended period of time, you may want to look into other weight loss options such as weight loss surgery. Bariatric surgeries like the LAP-BAND procedure aid in long-term weight management and help reduce complications from obesity-related diseases and disorders such as metabolic syndrome.