Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors

Is metabolic syndrome something to do with metabolism?  A kind of diabetes?  Connected to heart disease?  Or do you have no idea?

Today’s post brings up for discussion some alarming changes and health concerns that we face today.  Please comment below and let’s get a conversation going.

The reason why metabolic syndrome is a big concern is that close to 50 million adults in the U.S. (that’s 33% of the adult population) have it.  And that number is growing along with the obesity rate in this country.

Did you know?

A person with metabolic syndrome is twice as likely than someone without to develop heart disease, and five times more likely to get diabetes.

Do you have metabolic syndrome?

There are a cluster of risk factors for metabolic syndrome including:  abdominal obesity, impaired glucose tolerance or insulin resistant, high blood pressure and any lipid abnormality including elevations in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol that we want to keep low), triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol that we want to be a higher number).

Any one of these factors increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, including strokes.  If you have 3 or 4 more factors you have metabolic syndrome.

What causes it?

A major cause is lifestyle choices:  daily diet, weight and activity level.

30 years ago we thought genetics were more significant factors.  Today we know from recent research and statistics that lifestyle is far more important than family history or genetics.  One condition can contribute to another and being obese greatly adds to insulin resistance as well as lipid abnormality.

Scary Facts and the Obesity Connection

The rise in obesity accompanied by a whole host of health problems including metabolic syndrome is not just an issue for adults.  One study of 3000 boys and girls ages 8 to 17 of different ethnicities found that one in four were overweight and one in eight had three or more risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

The most common factor in over 40% of children was low HDL cholesterol levels.  One in five American teenagers have unhealthy total cholesterol levels.  The National Institutes of Health studying boys found another disease on the rise:  non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

These are very serious and especially when you consider these are diseases of aging and our young people are being affected.  We have to pay attention because when you have one of these conditions you are at a higher risk of developing another – and one is serious enough!

The University of Warwick, England,  says that Obesity + High Blood Pressure + High Blood Sugar is the most dangerous combination of health factors in developing metabolic syndrome.  You are twice as likely to have a heart attack and have a three times more chance to die at a younger age than the general population.

If impact of health is not bad enough, the Journal of Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders notes factors of metabolic syndrome can increase a person’s health care costs nearly $2,000 per year on average, and with each additional risk factor a person has the costs raise an average of 24%.

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