Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome, or Insulin Resistance Syndrome, is a diagnosis that many of my clients claim they have never heard of when they first come to see me. Instead, they come in stating that they have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high blood sugars and abnormal cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Metabolic Syndrome is caused by an imbalance or disturbance to overall metabolism and typically the root cause of that imbalance is being significantly overweight for height. There is a direct link between ones weight or more precisely with ones percentage of body fat with the development of metabolic syndrome. The more carbohydrate a person eats causes the body to have to put out more insulin to digest or metabolize that carb and the excess gets stored as fat. All carbohydrate turns to glucose in the end and everything is basically a carbohydrate, but meat and fat. A carb is a carb is a carb is a carb!

Those who have metabolic syndrome have 3 out of 5 of the following criteria: 1. Waist circumference greater than 35 inches for women and greater than 40 inches for men. 2. Triglycerides greater than 150. 3. HDL cholesterol less than 50 for women and less than 40 for men. 4. Blood pressure greater than 130/85. 5. Fasting blood sugar greater than 110.

At the very top of almost every health care prescriber’s medication algorithm or guidance sheet for preventative medication therapy is the statement “Healthy eating, weight control, increased physical activity and education.” This indicates that promoting and educating on healthy lifestyle changes should be included along with any medication they may prescribe.

As a Registered Dietitian, I am always going to recommend healthy eating, increased physical activity, weight loss as appropriate and education as the first line of defense, or in addition to any medication that the health care provider may prescribe. That said “if you need a med you need a med” and you should always work with your prescriber on making any changes on your medications.

So what is the treatment for Metabolic Syndrome? Research data shows that many people will lower their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars when they lose weight, gradually increase their physical activity and make healthier choices for food. Research data also shows though that it can take up to a year. So get started now!

So where can you go for help when you are ready to make some healthier choices and help prevent heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes? If you have insurance, most private insurance will cover preventative care with a Registered Dietitian and if you have a diagnosis of diabetes or renal disease Medicare will cover your visit. Insurance will only cover Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) by a licensed Registered Dietitian. You can only be licensed as a Dietitian/Nutritionist in the state of Maine or New Hampshire if you meet their intensive criteria set forth by licensure.