Since the 1940's a relationship between certain metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease has been recognized. In the 1980's this association began being known as syndrome X or metabolic syndrome.
Last week, a new study revealed that "women who breastfeed may be less likely to develop metabolic syndrome."
What is metabolic syndrome and how do you know if you might have it?
Metabolic syndrome is considered to be a clustering of risk factors in one person resulting in an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This syndrome has become increasingly common in the U.S. with an estimated 47 million affected adults. Insulin resistance is closely associated with metabolic syndrome and so it can also be called insulin resistance syndrome. When an individual with insulin resistance also has hypertension as well as lipid profile abnormalities, they fit into the metabolic syndrome category.
Definitions of metabolic syndrome depend on the group of experts who are doing the defining. The World Health Organization has a slightly different set of defining guidelines compared to the most widely followed guidelines of the 2001 National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel (ATP III) used in the United States. When a person has three or more of the typical risk factors, they meet the metabolic syndrome criteria.
The typical risk criteria include:
Prevention and treatment recommendations are the same for metabolic syndrome.
The Bottom Line - If you are overweight , carry your extra weight in your midsection, have been told you have unhealthy cholesterol or glucose levels or have problems with your blood pressure – you could have metabolic syndrome. However, whether you have been given that "label" or not really doesn't matter. Metabolic syndrome is not a diagnosis but does serve as a red flag that you need to make your health a priority.
A 2005 study published in the Annuls of Internal Medicine revealed that lifestyle changes were twice as effective as diabetes medicine in those that were as risk for developing metabolic syndrome. If you are currently being treated for hypertension, per-diabetes/diabetes and/or high cholesterol – keep working with your doctor as you achieve a healthier lifestyle. As you make positive changes, chances are you will also need changes to your medical treatment plan. Hopefully those changes lead to a reduction of not only your medications but also your risks of a cardiovascular incident or diabetes complications.
Will today be the day you commit to your health and reducing your risks of diabetes and cardiovascular disease by renewing your commitment to a healthier lifestyle? What will you do differently? What will you continue with renewed commitment?
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