High blood pressure is not something to trifle with, as well as blood sugar level that is above normal; excess weight – even more so. But what happens when these problems do not occur in isolation but together all at once? Recently, the Israeli doctors are increasingly telling patients: “You have metabolic syndrome.” This diagnosis is transformed into a new century obsession and threatens to become such a mass phenomenon as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Many people wonder: What is metabolic syndrome? Is this a disease? If yes, is it dangerous, or so-so? We begin, as they say, with the good news: it’s not a disease, but a set of alarms, a kind of red light, which lights up in front of the person and requires action.
The first hint of the presence of metabolic syndrome gives … stomach. Abdominal obesity is a sure sign that other bad indicators (blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol) have increased. Additionally, blurred waist affects hepatic health. It has been observed that people with the protruding abdomen are much more often suffering from hepatic obese than lean citizens.
So let’s summarize: metabolic syndrome is a set of risk factors including obesity in the abdomen, disturbance of lipid metabolism in the liver and blood, high blood pressure and sugar. This state clearly shows that the body’s metabolism is disordered.
More recently, metabolic syndrome was considered to be the problem of middle-aged and elderly people. It was found in those who grew up in a family with diabetes, as well as people leading a sedentary life and who are prone to overeating. But this problem is rapidly getting younger in recent years. Metabolic syndrome has begun to manifest even in teenagers! According to the medical service, the prevalence of this syndrome in Israel is growing among young people. At the age of 20-30 years, it is seen in 7.4 per cent of men and 3.8 per cent of women, and by 40 years – already at 25.9 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women.
The mechanism of metabolic syndrome is not fully understood. Perhaps, different symptoms combined reduce the sensitivity to insulin. This feature of the body is inherent in diabetes, which accounts for some connection between the two diagnoses.
Furthermore, an important factor is the already mentioned stomach. Why belly rather than buttocks and other body parts that are plump too? Fat cells in the abdomen produce special substances – free fatty acid. They go directly into the bloodstream and trigger changes that are typical of metabolic syndrome. They raise blood pressure and affect blood vessels, accelerating the build-up of cholesterol plaques. They accumulate in the liver and lead to fatty degeneration of its cells. They also interfere with the normal absorption of sugar from food. Women can have menstrual disorders, increased hair growth of the body, appearance of acne, and polycystic of ovaries.
On its own – no. We don’t need to go to the hospital because it has no immediate threat to the life. But if you do not take action in time, the result will be not very comforting.
Recent studies indicate that the risks of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease in people with metabolic syndrome are 2-5 times higher than the average in the same age group. Anyone who does not want to get sick in the future should take action as soon as the doctor says the phrase: “You have metabolic syndrome.”
Unfortunately, there is no treatment of metabolic syndrome nowadays. In the past, patients were prescribed a means for weight loss to slow down the syndrome’s development. But most of such drugs have been banned because of the serious side effects such as depression, and an increased incidence of heart disease.
Today, the main remedy for metabolic syndrome is a healthy diet and physical activity. The reduction in calories and 30-60 minutes of physical activity per day provide tangible benefits. Studies have shown that reducing weight by 10 percent can normalize blood pressure and sugar level in just 3 months! Well, if diet and sports are not enough, your doctor will prescribe medicines for hypertension, cholesterol and blood sugar.