Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome is a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. The risk factors are abdominal obesity, blood fat disorders, elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, proinflammatory state, and prothrombotic state. Metabolic syndrome in people leads to increased rate of coronary heart disease and diseases related to plaque build-ups in artery walls. Metabolic syndrome is related to increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Researchers say that today metabolic syndrome is rather common in the United States as more than 40 millions suffer from metabolic syndrome. (Ford et al. 356) Metabolic syndrome is also referred to as insulin resistance syndrome because insulin resistance and abdominal obesity are two underlying risk factors of metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance means that insulin isn’t used effectively in the body. Metabolic syndrome leads also to hormonal imbalance, physical inactivity, genetic predisposition and early aging.

The symptoms are fastening hyperglycemia (type 2 diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, and insulin resistance), high blood pressure, central obesity (apple-shaped and visceral adiporosity), elevated triglycerides, and decreased HDL cholesterol. Associated signs and diseases are fatty liver in concurrent abdominal obesity, elevated uric acid levels, polycystic ovarian syndrome, iron overload and dark patches on the skin. (Ford et al. 356) Researchers admit that metabolic syndrome may be genetically transmitted and some people are genetically predisposed to resisting insulin.

In predisposed people insulin resistance is elicited by physical inactivity and, thus, abdominal obesity. According statistics, over 80% of people suffering from metabolic syndrome have abdominal obesity. However, the problematic point is that the biological mechanisms between insulin resistance and metabolic risk hasn’t been yet fully understood and clarified. (Ford et al. 356-357) Speaking about criteria for diagnosing, it is necessary to mention that no well-accepted criteria for diagnosing metabolic syndrome exist.

Researchers recommend the criteria offered by the National Cholesterol Education Program, the American Heat Association and Blood Institute. They recommend diagnosing metabolic syndrome as the presence of over three of the following components: (Ford et al. 358-359) • Elevated waist circumference: in men over 40 inches, in women over 35 inches; • Elevated triglycerides: in men and women over 150 mg/dL; • Reduced HDL cholesterol: in men less that 40 mg/dL and in women less than 50 mg/dL; • Elevated blood pressure: in men and women greater than 130/85 mm Hg;

• Elevated fasting glucose: in men and women greater than 100 mg/dL; Metabolic syndrome is strongly linked to obesity as hormonal imbalance leads to improper functioning of all organs. Moreover, type 2 diabetes contributes abdominal obesity development. Insulin resistance predisposes people to central obesity. Central or apple-shaped obesity acts on hormonal level secreting adipokines which impair glucose tolerance. Abdominal obesity raises a serum resisting level which is directly related to insulin resistance. Thus, there is a strong correlation between metabolic syndrome and abdominal obesity.

Today the problem is that metabolic syndrome is more common among adolescents and children and such prevalence is attributed to increased obesity rates. (Caprio 489) Increasing obesity worsens each element of the syndrome and such association depends on pubertal status, age and sex. Aggressive lifestyle changes and medication are needed to improve all metabolic syndrome components. Physical activity, healthy diet, quitting smoking, losing weight and medication will improve cholesterol, blood sugar levels and will help to reduce blood pressure levels.

In particular, doctors recommend up to 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, limiting unhealthy fats, emphasizing vegetables and fruits, losing up to 10% of body weight and stop smoking as cigarettes increase insulin resistance. (Caprio 490) References Caprio S. (2002). Insulin Resistance in Childhood Obesity. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab, 15, 1, 487-492. Ford, E. S. , Giles, W. H. , & Dietz, W. H. (2002). Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome among US Adults: Findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. JAMA, 287, 3, 356-359.

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