Metabolic syndrome according to the American Academy of Family Practice articles metabolic syndrome is also known as insulin resistance syndrome, as well as syndrome X. It is a cluster of risk factors that will increase an individual’s risk to developing cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and stroke as well as type II diabetes mellitus.
The five major characteristics of metabolic syndrome include the following and one must have a combination any three to meet criteria:
- Fasting glucose of more than or equal to 110 mg/dL
- A waist circumference in men of greater than 40 inches; in women greater than 35 inches
- A good cholesterol (HDL) less than 50 mg/dL in women; less than 40 mg/dL in men
- A triglyceride level of greater than or equal to 150 mg/dL
- A blood pressure of greater than 130/85 mmHg
The three main characteristics used to define metabolic syndrome are primarily hypertension, the good cholesterol (HDL) levels and the abdominal girth (waist circumference).
Some causes of metabolic syndrome may involve underlying endocrine abnormalities such as thyroid problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome or Cushing syndrome and patients need to be screened for these as underlying causes.
One of the treatments for metabolic syndrome is managing obesity through weight reduction. Increased physical activity and diet changes are key, yielding in benefits of weight loss such as lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL), lowering triglyceride levels and elevating the good cholesterol along with lowering blood pressure, decreasing insulin resistance problems by decreasing fasting sugars which in turn lowers the risk of developing diabetes mellitus.
Since treatment of obesity is a main target in reversing metabolic syndrome in an individual, it is key to start screening and preventing obesity at the tender age of 6 as per the USPSTF and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Diet and exercise are key to weight loss. It is primarily encouraged to consume a low carb diet to reduce insulin resistance while increasing the intake of raw foods. Sticking to a vegetarian diet or paleo diet is effective because there will be reduced intake of calories. In addition, the Mediterranean diet can also help reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Foods that have increased glycemic index will release glucose more rapidly from carbohydrates which concludes that low glycemic load diets are far better. Higher consumption of fruits will lower diabetes risks, such as blueberries bananas, grapefruits, apples, pears and grapes. It’s also advised to lower sodium intake every day to less than 2400 milligrams in order to help control blood pressure. Whole grains, fruits, veggies, low fat dairy, limiting alcohol intake, increasing vitamins such as vitamin D, increasing potassium, calcium, magnesium, B 12 levels are all excellent eating plan. Eating breakfast daily will also help in weight loss maintenance.
In order to see a weight loss, there has to be a caloric deficit of at least 500 kcal/day for seven days a week resulting in a 3500 kcal deficit per week. The 3500 kcal deficit per week should translate into a pound weight loss per week. Losing up to 5 – 10% of your body weight in a six-month duration is pretty significant in lowering cardiovascular risk factors and increasing health benefits.
Physical activity should be approximately 200 to 300 minutes of physical activity a week, which is considered a high physical activity level. The minimum exercise recommended is at least 30 minutes/day for five days a week for at least 150 minutes per week which is considered moderate activity. In addition, twice weekly resistance training is advised. Monitoring body weight at least once a week is the way to self-monitor results in helping to lead a healthier lifestyle and to prevent metabolic syndrome.