Disease and illness are a part of life, and knowing how to prevent and treat them is what ensures you can live healthily ever after. One disease that some people struggle with and that seems to be the talk of the town these days is metabolic syndrome.
Whether you're wanting to stay educated on the prevention of this disease or you think that you or a loved one may be struggling with it, this guide is for you. Let's take a look at what you need to know about metabolic syndrome.
What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
To begin understanding this disease, it's important to define metabolic syndrome. While the name suggests that this is a single issue, metabolic syndrome actually refers to a cluster of symptoms.
Metabolic syndrome is the term used to describe a person who displays various risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases. It also puts people at risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, or even having a stroke.
Most people who are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome have insulin resistance. On top of that, many people suffer from obesity.
When people have obesity or diabetes their body is not able to make enough insulin, which can lead to the development of Type II Diabetes. As such, metabolic syndrome is often associated with the early signs of developing Type II Diabetes.
Metabolic Syndrome Causes
Currently, there is no exact known cause for metabolic syndrome. However, it has been closely linked to obesity and insulin resistance.
Many doctors believe that lifestyle and genetic factors can put people at greater risk for developing metabolic syndrome. The more risk factors a person has, the more likely they are to develop this syndrome.
Doctors have been able to identify several key risk factors for the development of metabolic syndrome. And, doctors are still discovering other factors that could cause this disease.
As you age, your risk for developing metabolic syndrome increases. Older adults and seniors are more likely to struggle with this issue, although children and teens can also develop it.
One of the main issues associated with metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance, which goes hand in hand with diabetes. People are at a higher risk for metabolic syndrome if they experienced gestational diabetes or have Type II Diabetes.
People with certain ethnic backgrounds have a higher chance of developing metabolic syndrome. Hispanic women have the highest risk of developing this issue.
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome. This is especially true if they have excess weight in the abdomen.
You have a higher risk of getting metabolic syndrome if you've had certain diseases. These include sleep apnea, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Having metabolic syndrome isn't just an issue for developing heart disease. It can also lead to further issues and complications.
Type 2 Diabetes
One complication that can arise due to metabolic syndrome is the development of Type II Diabetes. People who don't take steps to control their weight can end up developing insulin resistance.
When you become insulin resistant, your blood sugar levels increase. This puts you at a greater risk of developing Type II Diabetes.
Heart and Blood Vessel Disease
Another complication of metabolic syndrome is blood vessel disease or heart disease. The reason for this is that metabolic syndrome causes high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
When you suffer from these conditions, plaque begins to build up in your arteries. The plaques harden and narrow your arteries, ultimately leading to strokes and heart attacks.
Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms
One of the difficulties of diagnosing metabolic syndrome is that there are no physically visible symptoms. That means that doctors will need to look for a variety of internal factors to see whether or not you have metabolic syndrome.
A few symptoms of metabolic syndrome that doctors look for include:
- Excessive weight
- Large deposits of abdominal fat
- High Triglyceride levels
- Low HDL cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure (140/90mmHg or more)
- Insulin resistance
If you think that you may have metabolic syndrome, it's important to see your healthcare provider. He or she will be able to obtain key tests for giving you a diagnosis.
Common tests include measuring blood glucose levels, examining your lipid profile, and checking your blood pressure.
Metabolic Syndrome Criteria
In order to be classified as having metabolic syndrome, you will need to meet certain criteria. Doctors require patients to meet three or more of these conditions in order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
One of the main criteria for metabolic syndrome is obesity. Obesity is considered either abdominal or central obesity.
Doctors use the waist to measure obesity in individuals. Men are considered obese if they have a waist circumference higher than 40 inches. Women are considered obese if their waist circumference measures more than 35 inches.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Another criteria for metabolic syndrome is high blood pressure. High blood pressure is also called hypertension.
A person is considered to have high blood pressure if they have 130/85 mmHg. Individuals who are taking medication to control their blood pressure are also considered to have hypertension.
Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Low HDL cholesterol is another criteria for metabolic syndrome. Individuals are considered to have low HDL cholesterol if they are taking medicine for this issue or if their HDL levels fall below a certain amount.
For men, low LDL is considered to be less than 40 mg/dL. Women have low cholesterol if their measurements fall below 50 mg/dL.
Triglycerides also factor into an individual's development of metabolic syndrome. Having high triglycerides is a criterion for being diagnosed with this disease.
High triglycerides are considered to be amounts of 150 mg/dL or more. Or, it is also considered present in a person who requires medication to control their triglyceride levels.
Impaired Glucose Tolerance (Pre-Diabetes)
Impaired glucose tolerance is another issue that signifies a person has metabolic syndrome. Typically, people's glucose levels sit at less than 100 mg/dL.
When a person's glucose levels rise above 100mg/dL but don't exceed 125 mg/dL, they are considered prediabetic. People with glucose levels higher than 126 mg/dL are diabetic.
As long as their glucose levels are higher than 100 mg/dL, a person meets the criteria for metabolic syndrome. They also meet this criterion if they take medications to control their glucose levels.
How to Diagnose Metabolic Syndrome
So, how is metabolic syndrome diagnosed? Well, for starters, doctors use the aforementioned criteria to determine if a person may have metabolic syndrome.
As mentioned earlier, an individual will have to exhibit three or more of those criteria in order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
To discover if a person is exhibiting these issues, a doctor will take a series of physical exams. This will help him or her monitor and observe a person and how their body reacts to certain situations.
The doctor will also typically issue lab work. Lab work can provide important information about a person's blood levels.
Metabolic Syndrome Prevention
Although metabolic syndrome is a serious issue, it can be prevented with the right steps. Making changes to your lifestyle is important for keeping yourself healthy and preventing the development of this terrible disease.
Making dietary changes is another way to prevent yourself from developing metabolic syndrome. Eating whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables can help you avoid metabolic syndrome.
On top of incorporating healthy choices into your meals, you'll want to avoid a few types of foods. Steer clear of cholesterol, salt, saturated fats, and trans fats to avoid getting high cholesterol and increasing your chances of metabolic syndrome.
You can also try following special diets, such as a pre-diabetic diet, to help you manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels. These types of diets are designed to help keep your body's blood levels well regulated and can prevent the development of insulin resistance and Type II Diabetes.
One of the ways that people can combat the onset of metabolic syndrome is through sports and fitness routines. Exercise helps your body to shed weight and to use up extra sugar in the blood.
Doctors recommend individuals to get between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise a day. While you don't need to work out every day, doing so will help keep you in healthy condition.
On top of controlling blood sugar levels, exercise can help you to lose weight. Considering obesity is one of the main causes of metabolic syndrome, this can be a game-changer in preventing the onset of this disease.
Smoking has been connected with increasing the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. One easy way to prevent yourself from developing this disease is to quit smoking.
Metabolic Syndrome Treatment
Even if you do everything in your power to prevent the development of metabolic syndrome, you could still wind up coming down with this disease. However, there are several treatment options out there that you can take advantage of.
Doctors often prescribe medication to their patients to help them overcome metabolic syndrome. These medications help treat the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
High blood pressure medication is often prescribed to patients with metabolic syndrome. This includes angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta-blockers, diuretics, and ACE inhibitors.
Cholesterol medicine can also help control metabolic syndrome. Common cholesterol medicines include statins, niacin, bile acid resins, and Zetia.
Due to metabolic syndrome's close association with diabetes, patients may need diabetes medication to help them overcome their illness. Metformin, pioglitazone, and rosiglitazone can all help control and treat metabolic syndrome.
Finally, doctors can help reduce patients' risk of strokes and heart attacks using a low dose of aspirin. Since aspirin is a blood thinner, it can help prevent people from developing blood clots.
Lifestyle changes can also greatly impact your prognosis with metabolic syndrome. Sometimes, all it takes to cure you of this issue is to make a few adjustments to the way you live.
For one, you should get more exercise. Even gentle exercises such as yoga or pilates can make a difference to your outlook for metabolic syndrome.
You'll also want to quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. Reducing or eliminating alcohol from your diet can also help you prevent complications from metabolic syndrome.
Finally, you may need to adjust your diet. Doctors may prescribe set diet plans or simply ask you to limit unhealthy fats, salt, and cholesterol in your diet.
Do Provincial Health Care Plans Cover the Cost of Metabolic Syndrome Treatment?
If you or a loved one is suffering from metabolic syndrome, you'll want to know about your treatment option costs. More importantly, you'll want to know what costs can be covered by health care plans.
Many provincial health care plans do not actually cover metabolic syndrome treatment. This can make it difficult for Canadians to get the support and assistance they need to recover from this disease.
There are several publicly funded organizations that exist to help individuals make lifestyle and diet changes to overcome metabolic syndrome. Otherwise, they may need to enroll in private healthcare plans to combat this issue.
Seeking Help for Your Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic Syndrome is a serious medical condition that requires attention and treatment. However, with the right steps, it can be cured or prevented from developing in the first place.
Insurdinary cares deeply about your health and wellness, which is why we have health insurance plans that could help you tackle and combat Metabolic Syndrome. Get in touch with us to learn more about these plans.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose any ailment or disease. Insurdinary always recommends seeking the assistance of medically trained professional.
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