Your lifestyle choices may lead you down a path of disease. According to experts, lifestyle choices such as smoking tobacco, high alcohol intake and lack of exercise, can predispose you to developing metabolic syndrome.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
When several medical conditions coincide, the resulting condition is called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is not itself a disease, but its presence increases the risk of developing serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. To know if a person has metabolic syndrome, three or more medical conditions must be present (according to the National Institutes of Health). The conditions often relate to an unbalanced diet and lack of exercise. To confirm if a person has metabolic syndrome, the following conditions are checked.
- Waistline – if the waistline exceeds 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
- Triglycerides – blood triglyceride level is greater than 150 mg dl-1.
- HDL Level – HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) is dubbed ‘the good cholesterol.’ If the HDL level falls low (below 50 mg dl-1 for women and 40 mg dl-1 for men), it could indicate that the level of bad cholesterol in the body is higher.
- High Blood Pressure – if blood pressure exceeds 130 mmHg systolic and 85 mm Hg diastolic.
- Fasting Blood Sugar – fasting blood sugar is higher than 100 mg dl-1.
What Puts You At Risk?
Various factors can place you at risk of developing metabolic syndrome. These range from the ones we can control (e.g. lifestyle) to those we cannot (e.g. genetics). Although we cannot alter our genetics, we can definitely change our lifestyle, which is what most health care professionals want you to focus on.
According to experts, smoking tobacco exacerbates insulin resistance. This happens when the cells in the body do not respond to the hormone insulin. Insulin keeps glucose (or sugar) inside the cell for use as energy. Glucose cannot enter cells when they don’t respond to insulin, so it accumulates in the blood, causing diabetes. Experts also suggest that cigarette smoking increases the negative impacts of metabolic syndrome.
Studies have shown that stress plays a role in the development of metabolic syndrome. One study found that women with metabolic syndrome have more stressful life experiences than women who do not.
High Body Mass Index
People with high body mass index are nearly 25 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome. Also, people with abdominal obesity are at greater risk of metabolic syndrome, and this pattern is often seen in women.
Lifestyle Changes to Help you Avoid Metabolic Syndrome
A nutritious and balanced diet is the key to preventing metabolic syndrome. Although there is no single standard, you should follow a diet low in saturated fat and sugar but high in vegetable, fruits, whole grains, monounsaturated fats and seafood.
You should also: avoid smoking, exercise or become physically active, and maintain a healthy weight.
This article is by Amarendra, a writer on health, lifestyle, and wellbeing. He also writes on cigars and smoking.