One of the troubling things about metabolic syndrome is that its risk factors are the same as its symptoms. What this means is that until the symptoms show up you don’t know you are developing this potentially deadly syndrome. The American Heart Association warns, “Many of the risk factors that make up metabolic syndrome have no symptoms until severe damage has been done.”
And that damage puts you at risk for developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. The best way to see if you are at risk for developing metabolic syndrome is to know your odds. According to WebMD, “people with metabolic syndrome have at least three of the following traits.”
Large waist circumference — Often termed “apple shaped obesity” or “abdominal obesity,” this is an indicator of elevated risk of heart disease. This is : a circumference above 31″ for women and 35″ for men.
Low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol — This is the ‘good’ type of cholesterol needed to help remove the bad (LDL) cholesterol from our arteries. Low HDL increases your risk of developing heart disease. Ideal levels are above 60mg% for women and 50mg% for men.
High levels of triglycerides — These are the fats that are found in the blood. Ideally below 75mg%.
Elevated blood pressure — Blood pressure above a 110/75mg reading is considered high and can lead to hypertension and heart disease.
Elevated glucose (blood sugar) levels after fasting — Raised blood sugar levels over time can lead to diabetes and obesity. Ideally 75-80mg%.
Additionally, if you experience the following symptoms, it may be a good idea to consult with your healthcare professional.
- You feel sluggish after eating.
- You are still hungry even after eating a balanced meal.
- You crave carbohydrates, sugars and sweets.
- You are tired and sluggish, regardless of your level of sleep.
- You gain weight easily, but have difficulty losing it.
- Your blood pressure is on a steady incline.
- Your LDL “bad” cholesterol keeps climbing.
Treatment : Diet and exercise
While metabolic syndrome is a serious health issue, reversing it seems to be as easy as adjusting your lifestyle in two simple ways.
The first is diet. Excessive consumption of simple carbohydrates is a main contributor to metabolic syndrome. They cause the pancreas to release too much insulin into the blood stream, which causes more cravings for simple carbs, weight gain, energy drops, and eventually diabetes. Next is to ramp up your exercise. Engaging in exercise at least 20-minutes daily is another sure-fire way to reduce weight and reduce blood sugars.