Archive for September, 2020

Metabolic Syndrome Increases Risk for Disease Including Risk for Complications from COVID-19

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other serious diseases. 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 or obesity. There is a direct link between a person’s weight or more precisely their percentage of body fat and the development of metabolic syndrome.

People with obesity are more likely than normal-weight people to have other diseases that are independent risk factors for severe COVID-19, including heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. A recent study from Tulane University of 287 hospitalized COVID-19 patients found that metabolic syndrome itself substantially increased the risk of complications from COVID-19.

So, do you have metabolic syndrome? 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 provider’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.

So, what is the treatment for metabolic syndrome?   The treatment is weight loss.  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.  Going to a licensed registered dietitian that can accept your insurance as well as having a primary health care provider that promotes healthy lifestyle changes can get you on the right path. So, get started now! Most insurance companies cover preventative care!

Marie Veselsky, RD, LD, CDE, BC-ADM is the owner and coordinator of NH Integrated Health Care at 45 Washington Street, Conway, NH. Dustin Forrest APRN, CDE is the health care provider and specializes in diabetes. nhintegratedhealthcare.com, 603-662-0234.

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