Metabolic syndrome is one stage on the road to diabetes. It is also a call to arms! Learn how to identify metabolic syndrome early and stop the disease dead in its tracks. Reclaim your health and your life.
If you have three or more of these risk factors, you are already part of the disease’s grim statistics:
- Serum triglycerides > 150 mg/dL.
- BP > 135/85 mmHg.
- Blood glucose > 100 mg/dL.
- HDL cholesterol < 40 mg/dL (men) or 50 mg/dL (women).
- Waist circumference > 35 inches (women) or 40 inches (men).
What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?
In the disease’s early stages, it manifests no obvious symptoms. The syndrome may be suspected if an individual has a large waistline or is overweight, though by itself that one factor is not indicative of metabolic syndrome. It merely predisposes the individual to acquire the other diagnostic risk factors. As a result, many individuals are unaware that they already have metabolic syndrome.
Some individuals will eventually develop characteristic signs of the disease before the diagnosis is made. Some will manifest raised growths — “skin tags” — on the neck and back. Others will develop a localized darkened pigmentation, acanthosis nigricans, under the arms or on the neck. Women may have unusual periods, and upon examination be found to have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Usually, these symptoms are enough to cause most people to seek medical advice.
What causes metabolic syndrome?
Some people are genetically predisposed to metabolic syndrome. However, most acquire their disease because of lifestyle choices: too much sitting and too little exercise; habitual overeating, especially of refined carbohydrates like high-fructose corn syrup; soda drinking (both regular and diet). However, several other factors are known to play a role either in acquiring or avoiding the condition.
- Eating apples reduces risk.
- Drinking milk reduces risk.
- Cardio reduces risk; HIIT reduces it even more!
- Sleeping less than six hours or more than 8 hours sharply increases risk.
- Alcohol use and smoking worsen metabolic syndrome or raise the risk of acquiring it.
It would not be inaccurate to say that metabolic syndrome is a disease of modern civilization not only because it is so prevalent, but also because the very nature of our day-to-day lives promotes it!
Can metabolic syndrome be prevented, or reversed?
Thankfully, most people never have metabolic syndrome. However, preventing it may require aggressive action and substantial behavior modification, in essence shedding old habits and acquiring new ones. You may want to consider:
- Eating more beans and greens.
- Eating lean protein.
- Eliminating all refined carbs from your diet.
- Losing excess weight.
- Doing high-intensity resistance training.
- Walking every day.
- Sleeping 6-8 hours each night.
- Using portion control plates.
That may seem like a lot of changes, but you can modify bit by bit, prioritizing proper sleep, portion control, healthy foods, and exercise. The effort must be sustained, because what you will want is ultimately to establish new habits to replace your present ones. Challenge yourself, and you’ll find out how strong and resilient you can be.
Never give up!