Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome?

  • Posted on: Jun 10 2022
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How can I judge the likelihood of my having a heart attack and what can I do to reduce the odds?

The world can seem like a really scary place. Besides still being in the midst of a global pandemic, there are wars, threats of wars, hunger, disease, and any number of other serious issues. Even when we know we need to turn off the TV and take a break, it’s almost impossible to look away. 

The good news is that, given time, most things eventually work their way to a better place. Of course, some take far longer than others but we have survived extremely difficult periods in the past and there is every reason to believe we will again. That said, when someone starts off with “the good news is”, you can pretty much expect there will be a flip side and that will start with “the bad news…”.

The bad news is that, even if you aren’t affected personally, all of the negativity with which you are constantly being bombarded has an effect. It creates stress. It makes us uncomfortable. And it often leads to behavior patterns that can result in serious health issues, including those that put the heart at risk.

What Is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome does not refer to a particular disease or condition, but, rather, it is the result of having several conditions that combine to increase the risk of heart disease. These contributing conditions include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood sugar levels    
  • elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood
  • low levels of HDL cholesterol (the good kind) in the blood
  • excess body fat around the waist, referred to as an apple-shaped body

Any of these factors can increase the risk of heart disease: having three of them is classified as metabolic syndrome, and the risk shoots up dramatically. 

Many people have never heard of metabolic syndrome and would likely be surprised to learn that around a third of all adults in the U.S. have it. If they were aware of its prevalence it would probably help them understand why we live in a country where heart attacks occur every 40 seconds. 

What would be more helpful, though, would be to know how much our lifestyle and behavior contribute to the development of the conditions that make up metabolic syndrome. When we let personal stress and the negativity of chaos in our world send us to the fridge or cupboard for what feels like “comfort food”, we are trading a momentary respite for the very real possibility of long-term damage to our health. 

Most of the conditions on the metabolic syndrome list can be avoided or delayed with lifestyle changes, especially with healthy dietary choices and a consistent effort at getting a reasonable amount of exercise. The sooner you make these changes, the better your chances of avoiding serious heart damage.

A good first step would be to make an appointment with your healthcare professional, who will be able to make specific recommendations for behavioral and lifestyle changes.   

At Cardiovascular Wellness, our mission is to provide outstanding, timely, and personalized care to all of our patients. We are committed to improving your quality of life by designing a comprehensive plan of heart care, individualized to your needs. Information on locations and office hours for Cardiovascular Wellness can be found by clicking here.

Posted in: Heart Disease

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