You should know about Metabolic Syndrome

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

We use the word metabolism to describe the chemical processes going on within our body. These processes help you to function your organs normally for healthy life. Normal metabolic functioning of your body is also called homeostasis.

Most of these processes occur in your gut and liver, such as breaking down of your macronutrients (food) you eat, used for building and repair our body.

Then, what is metabolic syndrome. This is a disorder that affects most people in the present days stressful life consuming unhealth food and lifestyles. Such disorders place you at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and disease related to fat build up in the blood vessels.

We used this term, when you have high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, uncontrollable blood cholesterol levels, high triglycerides, increased abdominal waist-line, all leading to the development of greater risk for cardiovascular issues.

A pot belly is an aging health problem that changes your profile from a straight upright position to a slightly hunched situation, shortening of the spine with increased lordosis which encourages tummy protuberance.

Men used to get an apple shaped tummy with a waist-line over 40 inches, whilst women seem to get a peach shaped tummy of waistline over 35 inches.
The difference in shape is mainly due to the position of the fat distribution in your tummy. Women tend to put on more fat in the tummy wall, whilst men seem to get it inside the tummy in the visceral tissues (visceral fat).

It is observed that those who have tummy sizes over the normal range, both men and women, seems to have higher risk for heart disease.

High triglycerides
Normally, you should have less than 150 mg/dl, of triglycerides in your blood. Fat is stored in the body as triglycerides, and if your level is more than 150mg/dl you are qualifying for metabolic syndrome. You could reduce the level through exercise, eating less sugar and fat, to lose weight.

High cholesterol
High level of bad cholesterol is one of the main factors in metabolic syndrome. Whatever, you have read about cholesterol being made a ‘U’ turn does not apply in metabolic syndrome. You need to keep a high level of good cholesterol (HDL) to remove the bad cholesterol back to the liver. Your HDL should be maintained above 50 mg/dl for women or less than 40 mg/dl for men to avoid metabolic syndrome. Keeping a high level of HDL helps to keep a low level of the bad cholesterol. You may need to change your lifestyle, with better eating habits and keeping your weight down to avoid this syndrome.

Most diabetics qualify as members of this syndrome. If you do not take adequate precautions to keep your blood sugar within the normal range, you can put on extra weight, and your fasting blood sugar may get too high, and lead to metabolic disturbances in your body and lead to this syndrome.
Diabetes is strongly linked to all health problems, including metabolic syndrome. At some stage this syndrome may make your body stop responding to insulin, the hormone that keeps blood sugar levels stable. It si called insulin resistance, and it’s another common reason that people get metabolic syndrome.

High blood pressure
With high uncontrolled blood pressures you could qualify to get into this syndrome. Exercise keep you weight down and take regular medication, if required to prevent having this syndrome.

Avoiding metabolic syndrome
You could always regularly take measures to avoid qualifying to become a member of this syndrome but taking adequate health measures as described before. Of course, there could be unavoidable genetic factors. By taking adequate measures, you prevent your getting coronary heart disease, heart attacks and also type 2 diabetes.

Socially and physically active
Stay socially and physically active to avoid this syndrome. Exercise daily for 30 minutes a day. A 1000 step walk would be adequate daily.
Watch your weight, because excess fat accumulations in your body is a possible cause of metabolic syndrome.

Other factors
Other than looking after your weight, proper healthy diet, exercise, there may be other rolls that can promote metabolic syndrome. Avoid getting a fatty liver, poycystic ovarian syndrome, gallstones, sleep apnea, or any other chronic inflammatory disease. They do contribute to metabolic syndrome.
Eating a proper diet is important to prevent this syndrome. Cut down on foods with added sugar, eat less salt and foods with excess saturated fats.

If you find it difficult to lower your bad cholesterol numbers in your blood, your doctor may prescribe statin to lower your bad cholesterol. Take a low dose of aspirin to prevent blood clots, and medication to lower your blood pressure.

Knowing what metabolic syndrome is, you will be much aware of how you could avoid heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and lead a healthy sociable life.

Hope this article helps you in that endeavor
(Ref: WebMD on Signs You May Have Metabolic Syndrome)

Dr Gunatillake-Health editor is a member of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. Member of the Australian Association of Cosmetic Surgery. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (UK), Corresponding Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, Member of the International Societies of Cosmetic surgery, Fellow of the International College of Surgery (US), Australian diplomat for the International Society of Plastic, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery, Board member of the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery, Member of the American Academy of Aesthetic & restorative Surgery, Life Member of the College of Surgeons, Sri Lanka, Batchelor of Medicine & Surgery (Cey): Government scholar to UK for further studies.

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