Metabolic Syndrome

hh-19.jpgMetabolic syndrome is a group of conditions which together greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease more than any one risk factor alone.

According to the American Heart Association, metabolic syndrome increases the risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls (such as stroke and peripheral vascular disease).

If you have any three of the following conditions, you have metabolic syndrome:

  1. Abdominal obesity (waist circumference 40 inches or more for men, 35 inches for women)
  2. Fasting triglyceride levels of 150 mg/dL or higher
  3. HDL cholesterol levels below 40 mg/dL**
  4. Blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or higher
  5. Fasting blood sugar of 110 mg/dL or higher

As a nation, we’re getting fatter faster, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the latest edition of their maps that show obesity, three states estimate that a third of all adults are obese. Nationwide the number of adults who weigh more than they should reaches six in ten. Most of them have tried and failed to lose weight or maintain weight, reports the Harvard Men’s Health Watch.
Insulin resistance is a major factor in metabolic syndrome. Other conditions associated with the syndrome include physical inactivity, aging, hormonal imbalance and genetic predisposition.
How can you beat this heart health threat? Exercise and healthy eating habits are the best solution, say the experts.

  • Exercise: In one study of 612 healthy men, those who exercised regularly were only about half as likely to develop the syndrome as the inactive men. And it didn’t take excessive exercise routines to produce protection; just three hours a week of moderate to vigorous activity did the trick. Even taking a brisk half hour walk each day will do the trick.
  • Diet: Eating healthy carbs and good fats can make a world of difference. There are many diet plans that address insulin resistance. Choose carbohydrates that are digested and absorbed slowly as they produce a slow rise in blood sugar and a modest insulin release. Look for foods with a low glycemic index.

The America Dietetic Association also recommends adding omega 3 fatty acids, adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium to your diet along with magnesium-rich, high-fiber foods, such as spinach, beans, peas, nuts and seeds, and whole, unrefined grains.

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