Ask Your Doctor: METABOLIC SYNDROME

anguillian
By anguillian July 17, 2017 09:23 Updated

 

 

 

There is growing evidence that many residents of Anguilla have metabolic syndrome, and some are developing many complications as a result. Some of these complications are serious and can seriously impact the health of individuals.

What is metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is the medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure, an excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Having metabolic syndrome puts individuals at greater risk of getting coronary heart disease, stroke and other conditions that affect the blood vessels. Having just one of these conditions does not mean you have metabolic syndrome.

On their own, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity can damage your blood vessels, but having all three together is particularly dangerous.

What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome
Most of the disorders associated with metabolic syndrome have no symptoms, although a large waist circumference is a visible sign. If your blood sugar is very high, you might have signs and symptoms of diabetes — including increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurred vision.

How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?
Metabolic syndrome may be diagnosed if you have three or more of the following:
• Large waist circumference — a waistline that measures at least 35 inches (89 centimeters) for women and 40 inches (102 centimeters) for men
• High triglyceride level — 150 milligrams per deciliter, (mg/dL), or 1.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), in blood

• Reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — less than 40 mg/dL (1.04 mmol/L) in men or less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women of this “good” cholesterol

• Increased blood pressure — 130/85 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher

• Elevated fasting blood sugar — 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) or higher
• an inability to control blood sugar levels (insulin resistance)
• an increased risk of developing blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
• a tendency to develop inflammation (irritation and swelling of body tissue)

What causes metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is associated with being overweight or obese, and a lack of physical activity.

It is also linked to insulin resistance which is a key feature of type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar levels are controlled by a hormone called insulin. If you have insulin resistance, too much glucose can build up in your bloodstream.

Your chances of developing metabolic syndrome are greater if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, or you have had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes).

What are some other risk factors for getting metabolic syndrome?
Some other factors that increase your risk of developing metabolic syndrome include the following:

• your age – your risk increases as you get older

• your race – certain ethnic groups, such as Asian and African-Caribbean people, may be at greater risk

• other conditions – your risk is greater if you have had cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), or, in women, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Can metabolic syndrome be prevented?
You can prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome by making a few lifestyle changes. The following are strongly recommended:
• lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
• exercise regularly – on most days of the week for 30-60 minutes.
• eat healthily – to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control. Use lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low fat dairy, and go easy on the saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol and salt.
• stop smoking
• cut down on alcohol
• Schedule regular checkups with your doctor. Since metabolic syndrome does not have symptoms, you need regular doctor visits to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

If necessary, your doctor may prescribe medication to help control your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Conclusion
Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors — high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and belly fat that increases risk of heart disease and diabetes. Diet, exercise, and medications can help prevent this syndrome. Individuals who have this syndrome are encouraged to see their physician or healthcare provider.

Ask Your Doctor is a health education column and is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. The reader should consult his or her physician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field are ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

Dr Brett Hodge MB BS DGO MRCOG, is an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and Family Doctor who has over thirty-two years in clinical practice. Dr Hodge has a medical practice in The Johnson Building in The Valley (Tel: 264 4975828).

anguillian
By anguillian July 17, 2017 09:23 Updated

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