3 minute read
In 2012, only one third of all United States adults met the criteria for metabolic syndrome.1 In recent years this number has increased drastically. Today, it is estimated that only about 12% of Americans are metabolically healthy. Certain factors may put an individual at a higher risk of being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. In the United States, Hispanics – especially Hispanic women – face greater risk.2
At this point you may be asking yourself “so, what exactly is metabolic syndrome?” There is more than one definition. Some organizations state that “metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems such as diabetes and stroke”.3 The World Health Organization defines it as “a pathologic condition characterized by abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and hyperlipidemia”.4
Certain factors that tend to indicate metabolic syndrome include a large waistline, excess stomach fat, a high triglyceride level, high blood sugar and a high fasting blood sugar”.3 When a patient presents with three or more of these risk factors, they are at a high risk for metabolic syndrome. Studies have shown that the incidence of metabolic syndrome often parallels the incidence of type 2 diabetes.4 Being aware of these factors will help determine if a patient is likely to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
When it comes to treating and preventing metabolic syndrome, diet and exercise are key factors. Studies have shown that the benefits of exercise go far beyond caloric expenditure. With chronic exercise, structural changes occur in the body that can reverse muscle insulin resistance.4 This can greatly help metabolic patients as well as those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Diet can also help in reducing metabolic health syndrome. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains.2 Also, make sure to limit saturated fats as much as possible. This includes foods such as butter, cheese and red meat.
Metabolic syndrome is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. Education and awareness are key factors in trying to reduce the numbers. Eating a heart healthy diet as well as regular exercise may be what prevents hundreds of thousands of people from developing metabolic syndrome.
- Moore, J. X., Chaudhary, N., & Akinyemiju, T. (2017, September 20). Metabolic syndrome prevalence by race/ethnicity and sex in the United States, national health and Nutrition Examination survey, 1988–2012. Retrieved April 06, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2017/16_0287.htm
- Metabolic syndrome. (2019, March 14). Retrieved April 06, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351916
- Metabolic syndrome. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2021, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome
- Saklayen, M. (2018, February 26). The global epidemic of the metabolic syndrome. Retrieved April 06, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866840/