Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance Raises Risk of Diabetes Type 2
A recent term coined to describe a group of disorders, Metabolic Syndrome is an indicator of risk for diabetes and heart disease. It is not a disease in itself; rather, it is a collective indication of your risk for future serious health problems like diabetes type 2.
The foundation of metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance. When your body digests food, glucose is produced. The pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream to help the cells in your body process the glucose; if cells are resistant to the insulin, then blood glucose levels rise. Insulin resistance combined with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle paves the way for the development of the conditions that lead to metabolic syndrome. You are then at risk for type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular complications like heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.
The Components of Metabolic Syndrome
There are five conditions that comprise metabolic syndrome, but having three of the five is enough to qualify you for the condition:
- Obesity. You have a BMI of 30 or higher; many health professionals consider BMI measurement a more accurate determination of obesity than weight. The shape of your body is also a good determinant; those who carry fat mostly around their waist (apple shaped) suffer a greater risk. In men this waist measurement is greater than 40 inches; in women, 35 inches.
- High Blood Pressure. If your blood pressure is greater than 120/80 but less than 139/89, you are considered pre-hypertension; a blood pressure of 140/90 or higher indicates hypertension or high blood pressure.
- Elevated Fasting Blood Glucose. Your doctor will conduct a fasting blood glucose test. Results that fall between 100 and 110 mg/dl is an indicator of metabolic syndrome. An elevated fasting blood glucose that is not high enough to be considered diabetes (126mg/dl) is also described as pre-diabetes.
- High Triglycerides. When you eat, the food that your body doesn't use immediately for energy gets stored in the form of triglycerides. They are stored in fat cells but can also circulate in the blood stream. A blood test that indicates a triglyceride level of at least 150 mg/dl qualifies you for metabolic syndrome.
- Low HDLs. High density lipoproteins are the good cholesterol in your blood that monitor levels of low density lipoproteins. If you don't have enough HDLs, the LDLs can enjoy free reign of causing plaque build up in your artery walls and straining your heart and circulatory system.
Guard Against these Foes
The good news is that metabolic syndrome is entirely preventable by adapting a healthy lifestyle and diet. The following steps may significantly reduce your risk:
- Lowering your BMI and reducing your body weight by 5-7%
- Reduce your salt intake and lose weight to keep your blood pressure in check
- Keep an eye on cholesterol intake and incorporate more whole grains, fruits and vegetables
- Incorporate more exercise and activity if you lead a sedentary lifestyle