What Can I Do If I Have
Metabolic Syndrome is not a disease. Rather it describes a constellation of factors that increase one’s risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It really isn’t important that experts can’t quite agree on an exact definition or if it should even be considered a distinct medical condition.
What is important is that an increasing number of people have it. And having it greatly increases one’s health risk.
As the name suggests, metabolic syndrome is tied to the body’s metabolism. Most experts think it is tied specifically to insulin resistance.
What is insulin resistance and how does it affect our health?
Under normal conditions the food we eat is broken down into a sugar called glucose. Glucose is used as fuel for our body’s cells. In order for these cells to use the glucose, they need the help of insulin. For some people – an increasing number of people – their cells do not respond to the insulin. Therefore glucose cannot get into the cells as efficiently.
As we all know, more is better. To compensate for insulin resistance the body produces more insulin to help the cells along. The result is an increase of insulin and glucose in the blood.
Higher levels of glucose interfere with the way our bodies work. Too much insulin raises triglycerides and puts pressure on the kidneys raising blood pressure.
Having metabolic syndrome means that you have a number of conditions that are related to your metabolism. According to the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute a person is identified as having metabolic syndrome if he or she has bat least three of the following:
Of course we have already mentioned the fact that metabolic syndrome involves having a cellular resistance to insulin as its underlying cause.
As you may suspect – and can study elsewhere on this site – having any of the above characteristics puts one at higher risk for heart disease. What if we have more than one of these risk factors? Having multiple factors increases the risk even more.
One study concluded that men with at least three factors related to metabolic syndrome have twice the risk for a heart attack or stroke as men with none of these factors. They also are more than three times as likely to develop heart disease.
Of course this leads us to ask…
Researchers continue to learn about the causes of insulin resistance. It seems to be best explained by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Following is a list of the factors that increase one’s likelihood for having metabolic syndrome.
The first thing we should do is to take it seriously. Whether or not we have metabolic syndrome we should take seriously any factor we may have which relates to it. Each of these factors alone increases our likelihood for heart disease (as well as other health conditions.) Together they increase the risk dramatically.
When it comes to clinical management the primary goal is to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Practically this means giving up smoking if it applies. Smoking is very bad for cardiovascular health. There is nothing good about smoking when it comes to heart health. NOTHING! Sorry to be so harsh. But even long-term smokers benefit when they quit.
Cardiovascular disease is also negatively affected by high blood pressure and poor cholesterol levels. In fact, of the things we can influence, these two are at the core. Stress, smoking, diet and lack of exercise all contribute to our poor condition.
High blood pressure is not a normal part of life. It is a normal part of what we do to ourselves. It is the same with our cholesterol. Low HDL, high LDL and high triglycerides are, in many cases, controllable.
I confess I am an American. We have a reputation for being a 'can do' type of people. But when it comes to heart health we fail the test. We lead the world in poor heart health decisions.
So what should you do if you have metabolic syndrome? The same thing you should do if you have any of the individual factors that make up metabolic syndrome.
High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is high… work to control it. If your doctor has you on antihypertensive medications then take them until you don’t need to anymore. But do more than that.
There are natural things you can do to control your blood pressure such as…
Watch your diet, including salt intake. Eat more fruits and vegetables in your low fat diet. And watch the alcohol.
If you are not doing so… get some exercise.
Take a quality dietary supplement that includes fish protein peptides. Why? Because fish peptides…
As always you should choose quality supplements which are completely derived from whole food sources.
Heart Health Note:
Bonito fish peptides have been shown to possess ACE inhibiting properties.
If ACE inhibitors help you try taking fish peptides to help lower your blood pressure naturally.
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The same can be said for your cholesterol and triglycerides.
Reduce you sugar and alcohol intake. They both elevate triglycerides. Reduce cholesterol by reducing the fat in your diet. By that I mean saturated and trans-fats. Do not reduce all fats. In fact…
Try to get as much marine source omega-3 as you can.
Omega-3 fatty acids help to…
The American Heart Association recommends 2-4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from fish per day. Cold-water fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon are among the highest sources of omega-3.
It is difficult to eat enough fish to get 2-4 grams of omega-3 per day. This is especially a concern when we consider the contaminants found in fatty fish.
To fill this gap take fish oil supplements.
Select a quality omega-3 fish oil supplement to guarantee potent contaminant free omega-3. Some people don’t like the fishy after-taste. However, supplementing with omega-3 can be very important for optimal heart health.
Heart Health Note:
Omega-3 really can help lower your triglycerides. Taking Omega-3 is an easy way to safeguard your heart.
That is one reason The American Heart Association recommends 2 to 4 grams of Omega-3 for anyone with high triglycerides.
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There is another very important supplement which many people do not know about. That is CoQ10.
CoQ10 is a coenzyme which is necessary for the production of cellular energy. This alone makes it essential for the proper functioning of large organs like the heart.
As we age our levels of CoQ10 diminish leaving our hearts with inadequate energy to function effectively.CoQ10 is at the core of energy production on the cellular level. Without CoQ10 there is no cellular energy.
In addition, CoQ10 is a strong antioxidant that has special application to reducing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Recent research has suggested that the level of LDL is not the only factor in coronary heart disease (CHD).
The oxidation of LDL strongly promotes CHD.When CoQ10 levels are inadequate vitamin-E loses its potency as an antioxidant. CoQ10 actually revitalizes vitamin-E and works with it to reduce LDL oxidation.
A good CoQ10 supplement can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by reducing the amount of LDL oxidation that goes on in your body. It also can increase cellular output in the heart. This in turn can reduce your risk of developing congestive heart failure.
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To learn more about CoQ10 and to see my Recommendations on CoQ10 Supplements please click here.
Having metabolic syndrome is a serious matter. The combination of coronary risk factors can triple your likelihood of developing heart disease.
Our goal is to achieve optimal heart health. To do so we must take responsibility. Take care of yourself. Those who love you will appreciate you for it.
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