Metabolic Syndrome is a condition in which a group of risk factors for Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes occur together. Metabolic Syndrome is now recognised to be the leading cause of the two major causes of death in our society: heart disease and cancer. These are both much more common in people with Metabolic Syndrome and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke by around 500%. If a person with Metabolic Syndrome develops cancer, it may be much more aggressive. Having Metabolic Syndrome is also a very high risk to abnormal blood sugar with most affected people eventually developing diabetes. Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome and the many conditions that are related to it most often involves improving our ability to regulate our blood sugar.
While Metabolic Syndrome causes the above features of the condition, it may also be responsible for some other symptoms you may be experiencing.
These other symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome can be manifested as follows:
- Skin: Typical skin features are a darkening and roughening of skin and skin tags
- Reproductive (female): Polycystic ovary syndrome, early puberty, absent or infrequent menstrual periods, and infertility.
- Reproductive (male): Impotence, low libido, prostate problems.
- Nervous System: Depression, migraines and headaches, memory loss and dementia.
- Sleep: Snoring and sleep apnoea (stopping breathing during sleep); these can lead to fatigue and daytime sleepiness.
Many factors are responsible for the initiation of Metabolic Syndrome. It is primarily due to the effects of unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as lack of exercise, poorly managed stress, and a high calorie, highly processed, nutrient-deficient diet. These factors can throw your body out of balance and you lose the ability to regulate the levels of fat and sugar in your blood. This can cause many of the other symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
How do you know if you have Metabolic Syndrome?
You may have been diagnosed with some of the following:
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes or “Pre-diabetes” (at risk for diabetes)
- High triglycerides
- Low “good” HDL cholesterol
- Carrying extra weight around your waist or a “beer gut”
- Family history of diabetes, heart attack or stroke
Your Healthcare Practitioner can conduct some tests and measurements to see whether you are at risk of Metabolic Syndrome.
What can you do to reduce your risk?
Because Metabolic Syndrome is caused largely by lifestyle, plenty can be done to remedy the condition provided it is addressed early enough. Metabolic Syndrome that is not appropriately managed can lead to irreversible damage to your heart and arteries, kidney, liver and nervous system.
Keep your waistline trim
Keeping your weight under control is vital. Metabolic Syndrome usually strikes when people are overweight, or when they have extra weight carried around the waist. Fat that accumulates here sits very close to your abdominal organs, including the liver, and makes it harder to keep bad fats out of the blood. Your Healthcare Provider can help you with the best ways to lose fat from around the waist, and to keep it off.
What your waist measurement tells you about your risk for Metabolic Syndrome
You can take your waist measurement at home to monitor your risk for metabolic syndrome. Using a flexible tape measure, measure at the point between the bottom of the ribcage and the top of the hip bone. This level may not be the smallest part of your waist, or in line with the belly button. The healthiest waist measurement is below 94 cm for men, and 80 cm for women. A measurement of above 102 cm (for men) or 88 cm (for women) is one of the components of Metabolic Syndrome.
Nutrients, Herbs and A Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital protection against Metabolic Syndrome. Regular exercise, non-smoking, a nutritious diet, and stress reduction are all important. Some diets have been shown to be much better than others for people at risk of Metabolic Syndrome, so please see your Healthcare Practitioner for dietary advice. Along with a healthy diet, nutritional and herbal supplementation has been researched and shown to benefit many people.
Your treatment plan
As part of your treatment plan, your Chiropractor will include:
- Spinal adjustments
- Dietary modification
If you are unsure about any aspect of your condition or treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr Michael Rees DC at First Chiropractic.