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Metabolic Syndrome X

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Metabolic Syndrome X
Metabolic syndrome X is a disorder that results from insulin resistance. Appropriate lifestyle practices such as regular exercise, reduction of body weight especially abdominal fat and healthy eating can go a long way in tackling metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome or metabolic syndrome x is a medical disorder or a group of conditions that results from insulin resistance. The term metabolic refers to the biochemical process involved in the body's normal functioning. People with metabolic syndrome are at the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and premature death.

Metabolic syndrome symptoms

The presence of metabolic syndrome indicates that you have several disorders related to your metabolism including:

Fasting hyperglycemia or diabetes mellitus type 2 or impaired fasting glucose, or insulin resistance

High blood pressure

Central obesity - Large amount of fat around the waist or visceral, male-pattern or apple-shaped adiposity.

Increased levels of triglycerides

Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or good cholesterol.

Hyperuricemia, high levels of uric acid in blood

Fatty Liver, especially in concurrent obesity

Polycystic ovarian syndrome especially in women

Acanthosis Nigricans, hyper-pigmentation of the skin.

Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosis

There are two major schools of thought or definition on metabolic syndrome. It includes the definitions from International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). However, difference lies in the way the central obesity is calculated. According to IDF if BMI>30kg/ m2, central obesity can be assumed and need not be measured. While NCEP uses other criteria to measure the same.

Several other organizations have guidelines for diagnosing metabolic syndrome. All of them have minor differences and the doctors diagnose metabolic syndrome using any one of these guidelines. According to these guidelines, you have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these traits:

Elevated waist circumference If BMI is >30kg/m², no need to measure waist circumference Waist circumference = 102 cm or 40 inches for male, and = 88 cm or 36inches(female) Waist circumference = 102 cm or 40 inches for male, and = 88 cm or 36inches(female) central obesity: waist:hip ratio > 0.90 (male); > 0.85 (female), and/or body mass index > 30 kg/m2
High levels of triglycerides TG >150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L) TG = 1.695 mmol/L (150 mg/dl) TG = 1.695 mmol/L (150 mg/dl) (TG): = 1.695 mmol/L
Reduced HDL HDL-C< 40 mg/dL (1.03 mmol/L) in males, and < 50 mg/dL (1.29 mmol/L) in females HDL-C < 40 mg/dL in males, and < 50 mg/dL in females HDL-C < 40 mg/dL in males, < 50 mg/dL in females HDL-C = 0.9 mmol/L in males, = 1.0 mmol/L in female
High Blood Pressure Systolic BP = 130 or Diastolic BP = 85 mmHg Systolic BP = 130 or Diastolic BP = 85 mmHg Systolic BP = 130 or Diastolic BP = 85 mmHg Systolic BP = 140 or Diastolic BP = 90 mmHg =
Elevated fasting blood sugar FPG>100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) FPG>= 6.1 mmol/L (110 mg/dl) FPG>100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) albumin:creatinine ratio = 30 mg/g

IDF - International Diabetes Federation
NCEP - National Cholesterol Education Program
AHA - American Heart Association
WHO - World Health Organization

Metabolic syndrome risk factors

Insulin resistance is the major factor in metabolic syndrome. In an attempt to compensate the insulin resistance, the body produces extra insulin that leads directly or indirectly to the metabolic abnormalities.

Obesity metabolic syndrome: A large waistline or abdominal obesity is a key indicator of metabolic syndrome. The prevalence of the syndrome is calculated based on the waist circumference, which generally is 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women. Having excess fat in the abdominal area is a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body like hips. Despite obesity, people with normal weight may also be insulin resistant and can have metabolic syndrome.

Physically inactivity: Physical inactivity is the major cause of any cardiovascular disease and mortality. Metabolic syndrome is associated with sedentary lifestyles like adipose tissue, reduced HDL cholesterol, increased triglycerides (fat found in blood), blood pressure and glucose in the genetically susceptible. According to a study, people who watched televisions, videos or used their computers for more than 4 hours daily are at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Aging: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome increases with age. The syndrome affects 44% of the American population older than age 50. Women older than 50 years of age have the syndrome compared to men.

Diabetes Mellitus: Metabolic syndrome is found in large majority of patients with Type-2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Patients belonging to these groups have a higher prevalence of developing cardiovascular disease compared to patients with Type-2 diabetes or IGT without the syndrome.

Coronary Heart Disease: Patients with coronary heart disease are at higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Especially women who are aged 45 and more and have premature coronary artery disease are at the increased risk of metabolic syndrome. Doctors opine that appropriate cardiac rehabilitation coupled with changes in lifestyle like physical activity, weight reduction, and nutritious diet can reduce the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in these patients.

Lipodystrophy: Metabolic syndrome is high in people with lipodystrophy, a medical condition characterized by abnormal or degenerative condition of the body's adipose tissue. Both genetic and acquired form of lipodystrophy can increase the severity of insulin resistance thus leading to metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome Treatment

There is no one single treatment to relieve metabolic syndrome. Doctors generally prescribe treatments that would aim at coping with the conditions associated with metabolic syndrome. These include:

Exercise: Physical activity for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day is generally recommended. This includes walking, working out and sports.

Weight Loss: This is recommended to reduce the insulin levels in your body.

Healthy Diet: A nutritious diet taken at regular intervals is the best cure to any ailment. Doctors might put you on a diet chart to reduce hypertension. These diet patterns demand you to limit unhealthy fats and emphasize the intake of fruits, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Quit Smoking: Insulin resistance is increased by smoking cigarettes. Above all, it worsens the health consequences of metabolic syndrome.

Drug therapy: Apart from weight loss and exercise, few drugs are also prescribed to reduce the LDL cholesterol levels. Drugs prescribed for this kind of treatment include statin, a fibrate drug or a combination of a statin with either niacin or a fibrate.

Clotting disorder is common with metabolic syndrome. Blood clots within blood vessels are treated using drugs like Aspirin. High blood pressure plays a critical role in metabolic syndrome. Hence, doctors recommend few medications based on your health to keep elevated blood pressure under control.

Metabolic Syndrome Diet

Apart from exercise and drugs, diet remains the key in treating metabolic syndrome. Be careful with your diet, especially if you have a family history of metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes mellitus. If you suffer metabolic syndrome, try low-fat and reduced-calorie diet. Eat nutrient-rich foods and avoid foods that are rich in fat and carbohydrates.

  • Eat fewer calories. Try fruit instead of cake
  • Consume very little saturated fat.
  • Consume more fish especially salmon, tuna or mackerel
  • Stick to minimally-dressed vegetables and fresh fruit
  • Eat plenty of whole grains
  • Get in the habit of using olive, canola and sesame oil when cooking
  • Stay away from soda
  • Eat low fat diary products
  • Do not skip your meals

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