Metabolic syndrome is a reflection of several other conditions which, when they occur simultaneously, can lead to other critical health problems — such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Some of the conditions that influence metabolic syndrome are obesity, high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, too much sugar in the blood, and elevated blood pressure.
Metabolic syndrome: Causes and symptoms
Metabolic syndrome is closely related to other health problems which have also been connected to high blood pressure. For example, the lack of physical exercise and obesity are two factors that influence both blood pressure, as well as metabolism.
Metabolic syndrome and hypertension have also been linked to diabetes, particularly to insulin resistance. Insulin in a hormone secreted by the pancreas, which uses the sugar obtained from the foods that you eat, and converts it into fuel for your cells. People with insulin resistance have cells which can’t process glucose as they should, meaning that the levels of sugar in the bloodstream continue to rise, if the cells can’t absorb it.
The factors that lead to metabolic syndrome are strikingly similar to those linked with high blood pressure:
- Obesity and being overweight.
These are all risk factors that we encounter in cases of hypertension as well.
Yet another similarity between metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure is the fact that neither of these two typically shows any symptoms. Large waist circumference can be considered a sign, and people who have it will likely have high blood pressure or metabolism problems as well.
How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed and treated?
According to the National Institutes of Health, a person with metabolic syndrome will have at least three of these characteristics, whether they are already being treated with medications or not:
- A large waist, which means at least 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
- High blood pressure, which means at least 130/85 mm Hg.
- High levels of sugar in the blood, at least 100 mg/dL.
- High level of triglycerides, 150 milligrams per deciliter or higher.
- Low levels of good cholesterol, less than 50 mg/dL in women or 40 mg/dL in men.
Ways to control metabolic syndrome
Similar to high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome requires both lifestyle changes and medication. Medication will differ depending on the metabolism-related problems that a person has to keep under control.
These are mandatory regardless of the problem a patient has to deal with. Since obesity has a direct link to metabolic syndrome, as well as high blood pressure, diet and exercise are two treatment options that go hand-in-hand.
Regular physical activity
This is very helpful for people who have high blood pressure or metabolic syndrome. The exercises don’t have to be exhausting, as even a 30 minute daily walk can go a long way toward helping an obese person. However, if the extra pounds are too threatening, more intense exercise may be required. People who suffer from other health conditions that require them to avoid too much physical activity should consult with their doctors for a more personalized exercise plan.
This is a crucial factor in treating high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome. Losing weight has benefit for a lot of different body mechanisms. For example, losing about 10 percent of your body weight can improve blood pressure, as well as reduce the risk of diabetes.
Naturally, this is all accompanied by a healthy diet. High blood pressure and metabolic syndrome are strongly linked to the foods that you consume. Eating too much salt causes your blood pressure to rise, while eating too much sugar is a risk factor for diabetes.
Vegetables and fruits are a great replacement for meat and sweets, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to consume meat ever again. Lowering your meat intake and replacing it with good meat (such poultry or fish) can be good for your health.
Replacing wheat grains with whole grains guarantees that your body will get enough fiber to stay healthy, while also reducing the number of calories which can potentially lead to obesity.
Alcohol is also problematic for the metabolism, but there are types of alcohol which, when consumed with moderation, can be good as well (like one glass of natural red wine per day can improve the heart’s functions, while a small shot of digestive alcohol can increase your appetite).
Stress management can also go a long way as far as both medical conditions are concerned. It is known that stress and anxiety can cause blood pressure to rise, although studies have shown that once stress is gone, blood pressure returns to normal (assuming that you are not facing longer periods of stress, in which case your blood sugar will be elevated all the time).
As for metabolic syndrome, stress is linked to several other factors that can influence it. For instance, there are people who, when faced with stress, develop eating disorders, and they eat too much, thus ending up with the extra pounds which bring them one step closer to obesity.
Other people who are under stress will suffer from sleep disorders, which also influences the metabolic system, as well as has a direct impact on blood pressure.
Regular medical exams and checkups can detect any metabolic disorders ahead of time, to treat them before they can do any irreversible damage. It’s important to be completely transparent with your doctor as far as your lifestyle is concerned, as well as share a complete medical history. Only then will the doctor be able to put together a treatment plan that your body responds positively to.