Metabolic syndrome is a very serious condition that can lead to a host of health problems. It is a condition that includes a combination of risk factors, including high insulin levels, excessive body fat, and anomalous cholesterol levels. While these factors are unhealthy on an individual basis, heart disease and stroke risks go up dramatically when these factors work in combination. Insulin resistance is believed to be the primary cause of Metabolic Syndrome. As food is broken down within the digestive system, glucose is transferred to all of the cells of the body to be used as fuel. However, in order for the cells to absorb the glucose, insulin is required. When cells do not react to the insulin they become starved of the sugar they need to function, and the body reacts by creating more and more insulin.
This is often a precursor to diabetes, which is what occurs when the body can no longer produce enough insulin to maintain regular blood sugar levels. High insulin levels also increase the overall levels of fat in the bloodstream, and can create problems with kidney function and lead to high blood pressure and higher risks of heart disease and stroke. It is not currently understood what causes insulin resistance; however, there are a number of commonly cited risk factors that can be attributed to the condition. Age is an important factor in the onset of this disease, with the risks increasing as a person grows older. Race can also be a factor, as people of Asian or Hispanic descent appear to be more prone to the disease. A history of diabetes, high blood pressure and/or heart disease within one’s family is also considered indicative of those with insulin resistance.
Of all the common factors attributed to Metabolic Syndrome, obesity is probably the most important. Having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 25 can put you at a much higher risk. While there are a number of different medications that can be prescribed to help combat this condition, most doctors will tell you that changes in lifestyle are the best option. Making sure one gets an adequate amount of daily exercise is essential. In most cases, it is recommended that a person get from 30-60 minutes worth of moderate exercise every day. This can include riding a bike, taking a walk, or anything else that generates a quality cardiovascular workout. Learning to change one’s eating habits is also important. Limiting the amount of unhealthy fats in the diet is essential, as is increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy protein sources such as fish. Such changes in diet can not only help you lose unwanted pounds, but they can also help lower your blood pressure and blood glucose levels. If you’re concerned about your risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome, consult with your doctor. A qualified physician can run appropriate tests and help you determine the best course of action for your particular situation. In the majority of cases, a few simple lifestyle changes are all that is required.