Also called Syndrome X
Metabolic syndrome, also called Syndrome X, is a name given to a specific group of risk factors that, when taken together, increase the chances of developing Type II diabetes and heart disease. Since diabetes and heart disease are two of the major killers, health experts are very concerned with identifying those individuals with this syndrome.
The metabolic risk factors associated with this syndrome are as follows:
1. Fat around the middle in the abdominal area, often defined as a waist circumference greater than 35 in women and greater than 40 in men, or a waist-to-hip ratio (waist measurement divided by hip measurement) of .8 or greater in women and .9 or greater in men.
2. Consistently elevated blood pressure levels of 130/85 mm/Hg or higher.
3. Low levels of good cholesterol (HDL), meaning less than 50mg/dl and less than 40mg/dl for men.
4. Fasting blood triglyceride levels that are greater than or equal to 150mg/dl.
5. Insulin resistance indicated by blood glucose levels between 101 and 125 mg/dl.
Reducing the risk
Of course, you should seek advice from your health care provider, but there are some changes we can make to help reduce or eliminate these risk factors from your health profile.
Here are some things you can do to help free yourself from metabolic syndrome.
--Get moving. Take a walk. Work out. Play a sport. Go dancing. Anything that gets your body moving will help with all of the risk factors listed above. (Be sure you have the okay from your doctor before starting any program.) Make small changes each day and you will soon find yourself with a big change in your activity level and your health.
--Eat healthy. Include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains lean proteins and healthy fats in your diet and limit or eliminate overly processed foods and sugar. Making these changes will affect all of the risk factors listed above, and you will feel better, too.
--Manage stress. Learn deep breathing exercises. Pray. Pet your dog or cat. Hug your loved ones. Help out in your community. Change jobs. Whatever it takes to lower the stress in your life, will have a huge benefit on all of the risk factors listed above.
--Get enough sleep. Turn off the television early and relax before bed. Sleep in a completely dark room. Avoid stimulants and large meals late in the day. Get up at the same time every day. Getting adequate sleep can improve all of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome.