By Dr. Rick Tague
Metabolic Syndrome: A common cause of weight gain…And how to fight it!
Don’t let it sneak up on you, know what to look for and what to do, read on…
Being overweight puts you at risk of having Metabolic Syndrome. What is Metabolic Syndrome? It’s actually a cluster of conditions that increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The five common findings of Metabolic Syndrome are: increased blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist, or abnormal cholesterol levels. You don’t have to have all of these to be diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome, just having 3 of the 5 qualifies you for the classification. Having just 1 or 2 of the findings puts you at risk of a milder form of the condition sometimes referred to as “insulin resistance.”
What causes Metabolic Syndrome? It’s actually linked to your body’s metabolism (the processes of creating energy) and insulin resistance. For those suffering from insulin resistance, glucose can’t enter cells efficiently to be burned. Your body continues to churn out more and more insulin to help the glucose get into your cells. This results in higher than normal levels of insulin and glucose in your blood, which can eventually lead to diabetes if your body is unable to control the blood glucose within a normal range.
Increased insulin levels raises triglyceride levels and increases body fat, causing weight gain. It increases appetite and food cravings, especially for carbohydrates. It can also lead to increased blood pressure. Note: not all experts agree on the definition of Metabolic Syndrome or it’s name. Some physicians refer to it as Syndrome X or Insulin Resistance. In either case, its generally accepted that the more of these factors you have, the higher your risk for developing weight gain, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
So, if you think you have one or more findings of Metabolic Syndrome, please see your doctor for proper assessment. What do you do if you have Metabolic Syndrome? First and foremost, consider the following:
Exercise: 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day. If not used to exercise, start out slow and work up.
Lose Weight: Those with Metabolic Syndrome often have extreme difficulty losing weight on standard diets. Elevated insulin creates challenges by increasing appetite and slowing fat and glucose metabolism. Losing as little as 5-10% of body weight can reduce blood pressure, insulin levels and decrease your risk of diabetes. Special diets with reduced carbohydrate intake, nutrient supplementation, and appetite control are often very helpful in attaining the desired weight loss. If you struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, call us, we can help. Our program is specifically designed to help you lose the weight with safety as a priority, under medical care and guidance. We not only help you lose the weight, but give you the skills, tools, guidance, and education to help you maintain the weight loss as well.
Eat Healthy: Limit unhealthy fats and emphasize good fats, fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains. At The Center For Nutrition, we can help you develop a diet that meets the requirements for healthy, long-term nutrition.
Stop Smoking: Smoking increases insulin resistance.
Other contributing factors increasing the chances of developing Metabolic Syndrome are:
Age: Chances increase with age.
Hormone Imbalance: Such as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
Family History: Especially of Type 2 diabetes, or having a history of gestational diabetes. Also, abdominal overweight.
Race and Ethnicity: African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
If you have been diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome or Insulin Resistance and want help losing weight and/or developing a healthy diet plan, please call us and set up a FREE consultation to learn more on how we can assist you. If you think you might have some of the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome, see your doctor, or give us a call. Make sure you’re addressing the issues above that might be affecting your long-term health!
TOPEKA AREA CALL: 785-273-4443
KANSAS CITY AREA (Leawood) CALL: 913-814-8222