Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that includes a combination of increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal fat, and abnormal cholesterol that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Unfortunately, in recent years this syndrome has become much more common in the United States and today, over 30% of Americans are estimated to have it.
Several factors are used to diagnose metabolic syndrome, including waist circumference, triglyceride and cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and glucose levels. Many with metabolic syndrome also tend to have an apple or pear shaped body due to improper weight distribution.
Metabolic syndrome is closely linked to poor lifestyle choices such as inactivity, obesity, and diet. It is also linked to insulin resistance. When cells fail to properly respond to insulin, glucose is unable to enter the cells and glucose levels rise. As glucose levels rise, the body attempts to control the glucose by churning out more insulin. Consistently high levels of glucose and insulin are linked to damaged arteries, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and increased blood clot formation, all of which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age, obesity, and diabetes.
Having metabolic syndrome increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. High cholesterol and blood pressure can build up plaque in the arteries which narrow or harden and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Excess weight can lead to insulin resistance and as a result, higher glucose levels and ultimately, diabetes. If blood sugar levels are very high, increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurred vision may also be present.
People who have metabolic syndrome can reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes by controlling risk factors through a proper diet and exercise. Unfortunately, many doctors automatically turn to pharmaceuticals when a patient presents with high blood pressure or cholesterol. In reality, in many cases, these drugs only mask the symptoms and do not address the underlying cause of the issue – mainly, poor lifestyle choices. Functional medicine attempts to treat and reverse metabolic syndrome through the adoption of a holistic and healthy lifestyle without any negative side effects. For example, diets that limit unhealthy fats and emphasize fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains as well as 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day can offer important health benefits as well as help aid in weight loss. Certain supplements and hormones may also be prescribed depending on test results.
Contact functional medicine practice J. Gruber Health Solutions in Denver if you think you may have metabolic syndrome or are looking for natural ways to help treat it. We offer individualized plans for each patient and focus on actually getting you healthy rather than just masking symptoms. Contact us today at 303-746-1964 for your consultations and check us out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!