What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a group (cluster) of medical conditions, high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood sugar (diabetes), high or abnormal blood cholesterol (hyercholesterolemia) or high triglycerides, excess body fats around waist (obesity) etc. All these generally occur together and as a result, these individuals suffering from metabolic syndrome are at great risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. If you have, only one of these conditions is not metabolic syndrome. However, if you have even one of these conditions, you are at higher risk of developing serious disease. And if you have more than one of these conditions or if you have all these conditions, that you are at much greater risk of developing various health problems mentioned above (heart problem, stroke, diabetes etc.).

Aggressive lifestyle modification and adaptation of healthier eating and exercise habit is the only way to delay or even prevent development of any of the above mentioned serious health problems.

What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?

Most of the time metabolic syndrome shows no symptoms. If you have high blood sugar, it may (or may not) show signs and symptoms of diabetes (such as excess urination, excess hunger, excess eating, vision problem etc.). If you have excess fat in waist area, which can be easily seen. Other than these, metabolic syndrome usually produce no symptoms, which makes it more dangerous. Because, the sufferer may not even realize he/she is suffering from metabolic syndrome and may not seek any medical advice. This can delay diagnosis and lead to development of various serious diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus etc. Sometimes, metabolic syndrome may be diagnosed during routine medical examination or routine lab tests, which can then be corrected by aggressive lifestyle modification.

What is the cause of metabolic syndrome?

The causes of metabolic syndrome is not clearly understood. However, the condition is closely related to obesity (or overweight) and physical inactivity. Modern day urban population are at higher risk of metabolic syndrome, due to high prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity. Metabolic syndrome is also linked to insulin resistance. In a normal individual, carbohydrate after consumption breaks down to glucose and is absorbed. Insulin secreted by pancreas help glucose enter cells and used as fuel. If you have insulin resistance, cells do not respond to insulin normally and glucose cannot enter cells easily. As a result, blood glucose level rises. Pancreas respond by producing more insulin, but higher level of insulin may not be able to counter the problem, leading to development of diabetes.

 

Image courtesy of [Pitiya] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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