As the new year approaches, you may be thinking over your 2018 resolutions. Most of America will add diet and exercise to theirs. Will you? Maybe you did last year, and by February your resolutions were long forgotten. Discouraged that your schedule was too crammed and your budget too tight to add “go to the gym,” you moved on. Or perhaps you started out well (and you do every year), but somehow every pound you lost found its way back to you. Sometimes, we have difficulty changing our lifestyle because our motivation isn’t right. You might be more tempted to skip the drive-through and toss a salad if you realize how important it is to maintain a healthy weight and live a healthy lifestyle. By making a few adjustments to your schedule and your grocery list, you may be changing the trajectory of your life. You may avoid metabolic syndrome, a dangerous diagnosis that means your chances of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes have greatly increased. Let this year’s resolution to get healthy—and stay healthy—stick around.
How Dangerous is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms that greatly increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are caused when plaque builds up in your arteries. Plaque—a thick, waxy substance—hardens in your coronary arteries and narrows the passageway for blood to flow to your heart. Another risk of metabolic syndrome is diabetes, which is diagnosed if your body becomes insulin resistant. Insulin is a hormone with a crucial role. It moves blood sugar throughout your body to give you energy. If you are insulin resistant, you will have high levels of blood sugar even though your body is working hard to produce more insulin and gain control of the high sugar levels.
What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?
There are many symptoms that may indicate metabolic syndrome, however just having one or two symptoms does not necessarily mean that you are at high risk for heart disease or diabetes. It is important to understand what may lead to metabolic syndrome in order to keep your body healthy and functioning properly.
Women with a large waistline are at risk for metabolic syndrome because of the excess fat carried in the stomach. This is more closely linked to heart disease than carrying fat in your hips or other parts of your body. High triglyceride levels and high blood pressure are also symptoms to watch out for. Triglycerides are a kind of fat that is located in the blood. A steady rise in blood pressure is a direct link to plaque build-up in the heart. High blood sugar is also an indicator of metabolic syndrome and may foreshadow diabetes. Women with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are also at risk for heart disease. Last, but not least, a low HDL cholesterol level also puts you at risk. HDL is considered the “good cholesterol” because it removes the bad cholesterol linked to heart disease. In order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have at least three of the symptoms listed above.
The Good News
While this list may cause you to feel apprehensive about your health, there is good news. The majority of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome can be managed and even avoided by a change in lifestyle. We understand that’s not always as simple as it seems. But, we can guarantee that it will be worth it! Many of these symptoms can be placed under the umbrella of obesity, and learning how to maintain a healthy weight will not only lessen your risk for health problems, but could save your life. Adding at least 30 minutes of exercise into your daily schedule and eating a well-balanced diet are two ways you can begin adjusting your life for the better.
The Woman’s Clinic is here to help you on your journey to a healthy weight. Through our Healthy Me program, many patients have found success in reducing their risk for heart disease and maintaining a healthy weight. Our registered dietitian is here to answer any of your questions. You can make an appointment with her and start on your path to weight loss and health today!
If you have some of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome or a family history of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes, don’t hesitate to contact us at The Woman’s Clinic today. Our team of doctors offers excellent care at every life stage. We can help you get your life—and your body—healthy.