Metabolic syndrome is becoming increasingly common. Worldwide, 20-25% of the adult population are affected by metabolic syndrome, and its prevalence is on the rise. Metabolic syndrome is not a single disease, rather it is a term used to describe a group of health issues including:
- High blood pressure
- Belly fat
- High levels of the ‘bad’ types of blood lipids
- Low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol i.e. HDL cholesterol
- High blood sugar
- Insulin resistance
What are the causes of metabolic syndrome?
- Being overweight or obese
- Consuming an unhealthy diet
- Being physically inactive
- Genetic factors
Why does it matter?
Individuals affected by metabolic syndrome are:
- at greater risk of heart attack and stroke
- more likely to die from heart attack and stroke
- at greater risk of type 2 diabetes
- at increased risk of developing fatty liver disease
What can we do to prevent METABOLIC SYNDROME?
The good news is we can, to a great extent, prevent and delay the onset of metabolic syndrome through adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Below we have listed the most effective lifestyle interventions you can adopt to prevent metabolic syndrome:
- Lose Weight
As mentioned earlier belly fat is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome and as such weight reduction can help with risk reduction. This can be achieved through a number of ways, but calorie restriction and increased physical activity are at the heart of any weight loss program
- Modify Your Diet: Follow a Mediterranean Diet
This diet has been associated with reduced risk of metabolic syndrome and includes high intakes of:
- Unsaturated fats mainly from olive oil
- Fruits and vegetables
- Low to moderate intake of fish
- Low-fat dairy particularly yogurt
- Moderate consumption of wine (normally red wine) consumed with meals
It is also recommended that you reduce intakes of:
- Meat and meat products
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- Get More Physically Active
This can be in the form of aerobic exercise like running and cycling, muscle strengthening, or even a brisk walk. 30-60 min is recommended.
- Quit Smoking
Smokers are 26% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome as compared to non-smokers, so quitting smoking can significantly help with risk reduction
- Get Better Sleep Quality
A number of studies indicate that both sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep increase the risk of metabolic syndrome. This is because sleep disturbances can lead to:
- poor control of blood sugar
- increased inflammation which is a risk factor for both diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- Increased levels of the ‘hunger’ hormone, ghrelin, and the stress hormone, cortisol, both of which can promote weight gain
- Manage Your Stress Levels
Severe and chronic stress, through affecting mitochondrial functioning and metabolic function, can increase the risk of metabolic syndrome. Evidence suggests that relaxation practices such as yoga, and meditation can help with stress management, and have been shown to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome
We can support you through this
Our Medical Health Coach will explore any symptoms you are struggling with, and understand how your lifestyle may be affecting your health. Rachel will motivate you to make positive health behaviour changes to reach your optimal wellness.
It may be suggested to have some further tests to look at the possibility of this condition in more detail. Based on your test results, our Coach will focus on key lifestyle changes, so you can learn how to effectively manage your condition. We could track progress and perhaps have them repeated after an agreed interval to look at the impact of positive lifestyle changes.