The Ins and Outs of Metabolic Syndrome

woman measuring waistMetabolic syndrome is becoming a major health issue in the U.S. due to increasing obesity rates. Having some of these conditions associated with metabolic syndrome won’t necessarily mean you have it. However, you can have metabolic syndrome without showing any symptoms.

What Is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of health conditions that, if they occur together, can increase your chances of developing serious health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It’s also associated with insulin resistance, which prevents your body from using insulin correctly.

One of the more visible symptoms of metabolic syndrome is having an apple-shaped body, where you gain weight in the abdominal area, or “belly fat”. Other symptoms include difficulty losing weight, fatigue, and cravings, especially for sweets.

Because the syndrome can develop quietly, you should see a doctor certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine if you have more than one of the following:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Excess body fat around the waist
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels

How to Deal with Metabolic Syndrome

Depending on the severity of risk factors, you may be able to control metabolic syndrome through lifestyle changes. Diet and exercise have an outstanding effect on metabolic syndrome and can even reverse it. Eating a diet focusing on lean proteins, fatty fish, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil, while avoiding sugary and processed foods, can help stop it from progressing.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be very effective in reducing abdominal fat. Regardless of whether you can lose the apple shape or not, engaging in approximately 150 minutes of exercise each week will go a long way in controlling your metabolic syndrome.

You may need medication. Your doctor could prescribe specifically to lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots or relieve symptoms of heart disease; which all can attribute to metabolic syndrome. Though medicine could help, it’s important to still maintain a healthy lifestyle. You may also be considered for Verju laser treatment, an FDA-approved non-surgical treatment for body contouring with fat loss. During the procedure, low-level lasers emulsify the fat cells beneath the skin’s surface, causing the release of fatty lipids from within the cells. As a result, the fat cells shrink and decrease in size.

Metabolic syndrome can be affected by excessive stress or lack of sleep. Exposure to chronic stress can increase your body's production of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can add fat around your abdomen. Not getting enough sleep can make your hormones and blood sugar spiral out of control, which increases your risk of developing diabetes. According to a study published in the Nature Communications journal, sleep-deprived people want foods that contain approximately 600 calories more than what they craved when they had adequate rest (8 hours).

You can combat metabolic syndrome's effects and progression through healthy changes and prescribed medications. If you think you have one or more risk factors for metabolic syndrome, contact Dr. Shawna Purcell, for a consultation.


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