Metabolic Syndrome: What is it and Why should I care?
Updated: Apr 3
Extremely common and PREVENTABLE. If you think you're young and it doesn't apply to you, think again.
WHAT IS IT
Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors commonly presented together. These factors increase an individual’s risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, Fatty Liver disease, Cardiovascular disease and is associated with chronic INFLAMMATION (1, 2)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Although there are slight discrepancies between health organisations in diagnosing metabolic syndrome, it is agreed that central obesity and inflammation are the underlying causes. Three out of the five risk factors is adequate for diagnosis (3, 4):
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
Metabolic syndrome is used to identify patients at increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD); where patients with the condition have a 2-3 times risk compared to individuals without the syndrome(4). Additionally it’s associated with a 1.5-fold increase in overall death, and reduced quality of life (5). Although there is a small genetic component in the development of metabolic syndrome, many of the clinical measures shown above are heavily influenced by dietary and lifestyle behaviours, and can potentially be prevented or reversed (3).
Where does a Dietitian come into play? Have you ever been prescribed medications after receiving recent blood test results- to control high blood sugar levels, “high cholesterol” values or even blood pressure? Perhaps you know of someone whose been prescribed medications prior to looking into other alternatives. The problem I see, is not that undesirable blood results are managed with medications, it’s the fact that without addressing the underlying cause of these results; medications are used as a band-aid solution where dosages are potentially INCREASED or added. The root of the issue isn’t addressed.. over time, dosages are likely to be adjusted to compensate for poorly controlled conditions such as hyperinsulinemia.
Since the above measures can be managed through dietary and lifestyle changes, the over-prescription of drugs needs to be put into perspective. No one enjoys taking medications (so far, my clients can agree)- if you can prevent or come off pills, then why not try?
There is no guarantee that non-medicated methods will resolve ALL your co-morbidities, but yes, it will make a hell lot of a difference as we sail towards a holistic approach to health. Even to reduce a diabetic prescription dosage or to come off a blood pressure pill, its one step in the right direction.
Metabolic syndrome can be seen as the “gate-way” to developing chronic, deliberating diseases; if you had the choice to reverse your health outcomes, then what’s stopping you?
If you would like to know more in depth of this topic, feel free to have a chat with me at one of my clinics.
Until next time
~ Bonny C
1. Kaur J. A Comprehensive Review on Metabolic Syndrome. Cardiology Research and Practice. 2014;2014:21.
2. Esser N, Legrand-Poels S, Piette J, Scheen AJ, Paquot N. Inflammation as a link between obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes research and clinical practice. 2014;105(2):141-50.
3. O'Neill S, O'Driscoll L. Metabolic syndrome: a closer look at the growing epidemic and its associated pathologies. Obesity Reviews. 2015;16(1):1-12.
4. Harris MF. The metabolic syndrome. Australian Family Physician. 2013;42(8):5247.
5. Mottillo S, Filion KB, Genest J, Joseph L, Pilote L, Poirier P, et al. The metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2010;56(14):1113-32.