Do You Have the Metabolic Syndrome?
The abnormalities include abdominal fat (fat around the waist), poor blood sugar control, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. All of these diseases have overweight/obesity and low fitness levels as their beginning point.
Lifestyle change consisting of increased physical activity and weight loss is recommended by health authorities for initial treatment and prevention of these conditions.
Those with these symptoms or at risk of developing them really do need treatment or prevention. A diagnosis of metabolic syndrome doubles your risk of heart disease, and bestows five times the risk of becoming diabetic. In addition, this condition is linked to other common conditions like fatty liver disease, gallstones, sleep apnea, and the polycystic ovary syndrome.
Diet Western or Prudent Diet?It is essential to make dietary changes which, while reducing calorie intake, keep blood sugar levels controlled, while providing the nutrients essential for health. Foods that are especially linked to risk of metabolic syndrome development are meat, fried foods, and diet soda. A diet dominated by these foods is called a "Western Diet."
On the other hand, the so called "Prudent Diet" which is characterized by whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts has no association with metabolic syndrome. Much of this protection is achieved by avoiding the refined carbohydrate foods which rapidly increase blood sugar, like white bread, refined cereals, and white potatoes, and substituting with whole, high fiber foods which raise blood sugar slowly, such as whole grains, whole meal bread, and lentils.
Regular Physical ActivityBesides eating appropriately, getting enough exercise is also essential. Regular activity prevents the metabolic syndrome, and the higher the intensity of your physical activity, the greater the protection. Heart/lung fitness, often termed "endurance," is even more protective, so aerobic exercise which raises your heart rate for an extended period should be part of the mix.
So if you are one of the one in four Americans with signs of the metabolic syndrome, the most important being fat accumulation around the waist, then you are at heightened risk of several devastating diseases. But these symptoms can be avoided or reversed with simple lifestyle changes. Your choices directly affect whether your future consists of increasing medication or a quality of life that you can enjoy.