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Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is an umbrella term for a cluster of conditions that, when occurring together, significantly increase your risk for heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Factors that contribute to metabolic syndrome include:

  • Build-up of stomach fat
  • A high triglyceride (blood fat) level
  • Low level of HDL or “good” cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar

Having just one of these conditions increases your risk for further health problems. For a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, at least three of the above conditions must be co-occurring.

Health Risks of Metabolic Syndrome

A diagnosis of metabolic syndrome puts you at twice a greater risk for experiencing heart disease and makes you five times more likely to develop type-2 diabetes. Continued weight gain, tobacco use, inactivity and poor dietary choices will heighten your risk for experiencing these conditions.

Treating Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a preventable condition. Each of the risk factors that contribute to metabolic syndrome can be controlled through a series of healthy lifestyle changes or in some cases medications.

Healthy lifestyle changes include:

  • Increasing activity level. Thirty minutes of physical activity per day is enough to start treating metabolic syndrome as well as being an important aspect of any wellness program.
  • Reducing consumption of sugar and fat and, in general, eating a healthier diet leading to weight loss.
  • Improving sleeping habits. Healthy sleeping habits, in addition to treating metabolic syndrome, are great for mental health and wellness and have been known to help with depression and anxiety.

It is possible to significantly improve your health by addressing the individual components that contribute to the syndrome. Even those who have been diagnosed with type-2 diabetes or have experienced a heart attack or stroke can benefit from making healthy lifestyle changes. In some cases, taking control of your health can actually reverse the onset of disease.

Metabolic syndrome can also be addressed with medications that target the underlying health concerns, such as those that manage blood fats, blood sugar and blood pressure.