What is metabolic syndrome & are you at risk? Find out all you need to know about metabolic syndrome & learn about simple fixes that you can make to avoid this risk.
In this article, we discuss everything that has to do with metabolic syndrome - what is it and how it effects your health and how can you prevent or reverse it. Modern diet and unhealthy life-style choices have taken a toll on humans - from erratic work hours to long commutes and work travel to eating without discipline, all these have led to epidemic of chronic diseases. Add inadequate sleep patterns to this mix and we are now in a vicious cycle of self-abuse and many irreversible conditions.
This is why it is urgent to learn what is metabolic syndrome and in this article, my intention is to empower you with not just an in-depth understanding of this health crisis but also simple, easy fixes that yield huge positive changes. You can apply these changes right away and they are sure to help in your and your loved ones's health. Let's start right away.
What is metabolic syndrome (MS)?
Metabolic syndrome is defined as excess weight, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. These things are called metabolic syndrome - the conditions that happen together, like someone having high blood pressure, risk of stroke, diabetes, is obese and has high cholesterol. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of heart attack and stroke in people. Metabolic syndrome is also suggested by a large waist circumference (big, fatty belly). Metabolic syndrome is linked to both obesity and insulin resistance (more on this below).
Metabolic syndrome is evaluated/diagnosed on these 5 risk factors -
Having 3 or more of these 5 factors is when you will get diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. In turn, these risk factors will increase your risk for other conditions like heart issues, insulin resistance, severe obesity, and so on.
Since insulin is a vital hormone and excess insulin seems to be the culprit in modern day diseases like diabetes to cancer to hormonal issues and more, I am going to explain by showing here the interconnected link between high insulin and the rest of the factors in the metabolic syndrome.
Link between insulin resistance (IR) and metabolic syndrome (MS)?
Insulin & Obesity - Insulin is a very important hormone. It causes the body to store fat - to be used later for energy. Every time you eat, insulin is released. But since we live in the age of eating, eating, and more eating, you can be sure insulin is constantly being released in your body. If insulin causes the body to store fat, then by simple math, it is clear that high insulin is equal to high stores of fat. People with heavy bulky tummies have high levels of insulin. People who are obese have high levels of insulin.
Insulin & Cardiovascular Diseases - Insulin resistance causes high levels of insulin to circulate in the blood as the insulin receptors are not working properly in a person with 'resistance.' This causes increase in triglycerides as well as bad cholesterol (LDL). As if that is not detrimental enough to one's body, insulin resistance also causes the good cholesterol (HDL) levels to decline. When high insulin levels are in the blood and insulin receptors have shut off, the constant pressure causes damage to the cells, the blood vessels and their lining, thus putting the person at a higher risk for heart attack, atherosclerosis and hypertension.
Insulin & Blood Pressure - High circulating levels of insulin also cause high renal sodium retention which causes defect in intracellular electrolyte balance between calcium/magnesium and sodium/potassium. This leads to high magnesium and potassium excretion which is not good for the body. All these changes lead to hypertension or high blood pressure.
Insulin & Cortisol (the stress hormone) - High insulin or high blood pressure also causes activation of sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system is the one that is fight-or-flight response. This means high insulin levels in the blood cause higher stress and cortisol.
Insulin, Thyroid & Obesity - High levels of insulin cause more fat storage in the body, thus leading to obesity. High levels of insulin also inhibit the conversion of T4 to T3 (the active thyroid hormone) - thus leading to thyroid imbalance. Both hypo- and hyper- thyroidism are linked to insulin resistance and this is because chronic high blood sugar levels can be due to thyroid imbalance and thus contribute to metabolic syndrome. Hyperthyroidism can cause insulin to be processed and flushed out of the body much quicker than needed due to faster metabolism. This is reversed in case of hypothyroidism - where slow metabolism can lead to insulin staying longer in the blood and leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Conclusion: Insulin is a very important hormone but excess insulin is a big red flag; lowering insulin, reducing weight, eating healthy diet and adopting for health-supporting habits can help you prevent obesity, shed off belly fat, prevent cardiovascular diseases, reverse high blood pressure and even attain healthy blood sugar levels!!
Steps to Take for Reversing or Preventing Metabolic Syndrome -
Here are some steps that will help you if you have been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome or you are at risk of any of the conditions. The steps are -
This is as comprehensive as it gets on metabolic syndrome. I hope you feel empowered after reading this article and knowing that there are steps you can take right away, in your home to create a healthy body and healthy life!
References - (1), (2), (3)
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To Healthy Lifestyle Choices! - till next article.
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