Here’s a quick test for you. On the following list, check off how many currently apply to you:
- High blood pressure
- High triglycerides
- Unhealthy cholesterol (mainly low levels of HDL “good cholesterol”)
- Large waist circumference (35 inches for women; 45 inches for men)
- Elevated fasting blood sugar
If you answered one or two, overall risk to your health is high. If you answered three or more, you may have Metabolic Syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome is not a disease in and of itself, but rather a collection of symptoms as described in our test above. And it puts you at significant increase for heart attack, stroke, and developing Type 2 diabetes.
The primary cause of Metabolic Syndrome is obesity and lack of physical activity. If you carry the bulk of fat in your abdominal area, you are at increased risk for developing the syndrome. Abdominal fat is especially harmful because it release hormones and inflammatory substances that lead to the development of chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels.
Maybe the most alarming fact about Metabolic Syndrome is that it has quickly become a leading health crisis in only the last 20 years. According to the American Heart Association, over 47 million American adults already suffer from it, which is about 60 percent of the number of people who have a body mass index of 30 or higher (the clinical definition of obesity). In addition, the risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome increases with age, affecting 40 percent of people 60 years of age and older.
Other than waist circumference and potentially some pre-diabetes symptoms, there are no real outward symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome. In order to know if you have it, you need to visit your medical provider for testing.
If you are diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome, your next step, plain and simple, is to lose weight. We understand that this is easier said than done, but to prevent a major health event from happening to you, it is important you make the effort. Then come back and take the Metabolic Syndrome test again to see just how far you’ve come. We’re looking forward to that!