Q. What is metabolic syndrome and how can it damage my health?
A. “Metabolic” refers to the life-sustaining, chemical processes that happen in our bodies. We often speak about metabolism in relation to our body’s ability, or inability, to burn the fat and calories we consume. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of adverse factors that doubles your risk of heart disease. You are also five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Factors include: high blood pressure; high triglycerides; low levels of good HDL cholesterol; high fasting blood sugar; and excess weight specifically in your midsection. All factors need not be present for very serious consequences.
Q. What can I do if I have metabolic syndrome?
A. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other fiber-rich foods, along with exercising at least 30 minutes daily, several times a week, will help control your blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight—all key triggers of the syndrome. However, for people with excess weight in the midsection, losing significant weight and keeping it off can be very difficult. For some of these people, weight-loss (bariatric) surgery can be the best solution. With the right surgical procedure, obese patients can lose a lot of weight and almost immediately start lowering blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood fat counts.
Q. How can I prevent metabolic syndrome?
A. Healthy eating and regular exercise, as I described, are great ways to keep the syndrome’s various triggering factors at bay. If you already have some or all of the factors involved in metabolic syndrome, see your doctor. If surgical weight-loss is recommended, Northern Westchester Hospital’s website is an excellent place to explore today’s most advanced, safest, and most effective options: www.nwhsurgicalweightloss.org.