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Metabolic Syndrome

Fitness for mind and body.

Metabolic syndrome has been recognized since (at least) the 1920's, however, it has had many different labels throughout the years. Metabolic syndrome is a disorder which often includes a beer belly, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol readings and high blood sugar and triglyceride levels and low levels of HDL. It is not considered a single disease; rather, a cluster of health problems.

Man with beer belly

In addition, the word "metabolic" will more than likely cause one to assume this means a defective metabolism. While this may be true in some cases, it will and/or does not apply to all cases. The connection to diabetes is that metabolic syndrome greatly increases the risk level of diabetes as well as heart attacks and stroke.

At least 47-million American adults are afflicted with metabolic syndrome. That is about one if five of us.

Experts say the highest contributing factors to this syndrome is overeating, a combination of genes and lack of exercise. A recent study came up with some definite statistics:

  • 50 to 60 million Americans have hypertension
  • About 60 percent of adults qualify as overweight or obese
  • There are 16 million Americans with diabetes

According to the NIH definition, metabolic disorder is present if a patient has any three or more symptoms:

  1. a waist measuring at least 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women
  2. levels of triglycerides - fats that circulate in the blood - of at least 150 milligrams per deciliter
  3. HDL levels of less than 40 mgs in men and less than 50 mgs in women
  4. blood pressure of at least 135/80; and blood sugar of at least 110 mgs

Studies now estimate 22-percent of American adults have the syndrome. The percentage for men vs. women were nearly equal: Men, 24-percent and women, 23.4-percent. The percentages increased as the age brackets went up.

Experts feel there will be many patients who have multiple symptoms and that now physicians will be better equiped to help them. This syndrome is said to be "lifestyle-sensitive", meaning if one learns and practices better diet and exercise habits, they can control and/or avert this syndrome entirely. They will also reap huge rewards.

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