Metabolic Syndrome is an international issue that has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Globally, Metabolic Syndrome currently affects one in every four people. In some countries, such as the US, it affects up to one in three people, with that number steadily creeping towards the 50% mark. But what exactly is Metabolic Syndrome, and how does one get it under control?
What is metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of simultaneous diseases, which include diabetes, Type-2 dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), high blood pressure, and obesity.
Now, if you only have one of these conditions, you won’t necessarily be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. But having one of these them could cause a ripple effect that puts you at higher risk for developing other conditions.
It is very important to note that, if you were diagnosed with one of these diseases, that you have a higher risk for developing the others in these clusters. Ultimately, that’s what leads to the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.
Four Legs of Managing Metabolic Syndrome
To put this in perspective, we are using the analogy of a table. A table needs four legs to work efficiently. If we take one of those legs away, it has a detrimental effect on the efficiency of that table. It becomes unstable and unusable. This same principle applies to Metabolic Syndrome. To fully manage Metabolic Syndrome, you will need to address these four factors:
Supplementation / Medication
The first step to battling Metabolic Syndrome is a tailored group of medication and/or supplements prescribed by your medical professional that will help you manage your blood sugar levels.
The second leg is exercise, which plays a vital role in managing your metabolism. Exercise lowers your blood pressure, lowers your heart rate, helps with weight loss, stabilises your glucose levels and decreases your risk of developing heart disease – all vital factors to consider when you’re struggling with metabolic syndrome.
With that being said, it is critical to note that you should always double-check your exercise regime with a medical professional. Each person’s body and case of metabolic syndrome differs, which means you will need the help of a professional to develop an exercise programme that is specifically tailored to you.
Stress Management and Sleep
Then we’ve got the third leg, which represents stress and sleep. Stress is a very important factor to consider, as it has a powerful effect on the management of hormones in your body, which directly affects your Metabolic Syndrome. Meditation and breathing exercises are a great natural and convenient way to lower stress levels.
Similarly, sleep also plays an important role in managing your metabolic syndrome, and just health in general. Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep a night. This is important as, beyond helping reduce stress and maintaining mental health, it resets our levels of ghrelin and leptin, which control the amount of fat we burn and our hunger.
Last but not least, we have the fourth leg: diet. In terms of metabolic syndrome, the main thing to watch out for are carbohydrates. People who have metabolic syndrome react differently to carbohydrates (often referred to as having a “Metabolism B”) than the average person (“Metabolism A”).
People with Metabolic Syndrome produce a lot of insulin. This means that instead of turning that carbohydrates into energy, the overproduction of insulin actually causes it to be rather stored as body fat, which can worsen the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome even more.
This comes down to something called the glycaemic index, or GI, which refers to the ability of a carbohydrate food to increase the level of glucose in the blood. This means that you have to only consume foods with low GI, otherwise your blood sugar levels will spin out of control, which can have a detrimental effect on your general health and metabolic syndrome.