What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?

According to World Health Organization, Metabolic syndrome is defined as a cluster of dangerous heart attack risk factors and is the unhealthy stage before a person develops diabetes, about 20-25% of the world’s adult population has this syndrome.  Also, a person is three times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to those who don’t have it. The underlying cause is still a puzzle among experts, but the two most significant factors are insulin resistance and central obesity.

Can’t take that Insulin

Normally, your body breaks down food into glucose. The hormone Insulin, which is produced in your pancreas, becomes a transport shuttle for glucose absorption in the different cells all over the body.  Insulin resistance occurs when the cells start to be less sensitive and later on resistant to insulin. With resistance, glucose absorption is impaired in the cells. Thus, there is increased levels of glucose in the blood, and stimulates the body to increase its insulin production. These goings-on later on cause the pancreas to wear out. There is decrease insulin production and further increase in glucose in the blood. Furthermore, the increase in blood glucose levels causes build-up of triglycerides and further decrease insulin sensitivity.  

Obesity Killer Mystery

Obesity is basically a condition where there is increased or excessive accumulation of body fats. And it would later on lead to increased triglycerides levels in the blood, which precipitates to increased blood pressure. Obesity and hyperglycemia are linked closely most of the time.

Specific to metabolic syndrome, Central obesity, also known as abdominal obesity, excess of body fat in the abdomen, is more indicative of metabolic syndrome.  It is measured via waist circumference. This condition increases your risk to a variety of health consequences such as Diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease and as well as cancer related to increased body mass index.

According to the new International Diabetes definition, for a person to be classified as having metabolic syndrome they must have: Central obesity (waist circumference) plus any two of the following four factors: increased triglycerides, decreased HDL cholesterol, increased blood pressure systolic, increased fasting plasma glucose, or previously diagnosed type 2 diabetes.

Other Risk Factors

Risk factors may vary especially according to ethnic groups. According to the American Heart Association, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans have increased risk of metabolic syndrome. Other risk factors include genetics, physical inactivity, aging, a pro-inflammatory state and hormonal changes.


What to Do?

With this knowledge, we can actually reduce or avoid the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Here are a few tips:

  • Choose the stairs and don’t be a couch potato. Recommendations suggest 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week reduces risk of lifestyle related conditions.
  • Eat a nutritious and healthy diet. Avoid eating empty calories and processed foods.
  • Drink the recommended amount of water per day for your weight.
  • Keep a food list which contains good cholesterol. You still need those fats for your other metabolic activities.
  • If you already have an underlying condition, make sure to be religious with your management and schedule a regular appointment with your primary health care provider.

If you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, fret not. Insulin resistance and central obesity can be avoided and/or you decrease your risk by following the guide above. Take this as an opportunity for improving your health and make healthy lifestyle decisions.

November 16, 2016 • Blog