It All Adds Up: Learn About the Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome
You know that your heart is complex, and that many factors contribute to its overall health, including blood pressure and cholesterol. But having multiple risk factors can result in a syndrome that could drastically increase your risk for heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a group of risk factors that increases your chance of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Though metabolic syndrome is not an actual disease, the results from acquiring the syndrome can be devastating.
People with metabolic syndrome are twice as likely to have heart disease. They are five times as likely to have diabetes. Being overweight and doing little or no exercise may lead to insulin resistance. This means the insulin your body produces does not work the way it should. Recognizing the importance of healthy lifestyle choices is crucial in reducing your health risks. By taking control of your health and making positive lifestyle choices now, you have the potential to decrease your risks for disease later on in life.
How Do You Know if You Have Metabolic Syndrome?
Although there are several definitions of metabolic syndrome, each indicates that it leads to many other serious health conditions. So it is important that you understand what metabolic syndrome is, and how you can prevent it. If you have at least three of the five risk factors, you are considered to have metabolic syndrome.
Even if you are taking medications to keep any of these risk factors at normal levels, you are still considered to have the risk factor. For example, if your blood pressure levels are normal, but you take high blood pressure medication, you still have hypertension, because your body does not naturally keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
Prevent Metabolic Syndrome
When you choose to live a healthy lifestyle, you are not only lowering your chances of developing metabolic syndrome,but you are also reducing your chances of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Health lifestyle choices can have incredible effects on your health and are well worth the effort.
- Eat more plant-based food, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, fish, beans, whole grains and extra virgin olive oil.
- Instead of bread and butter, have whole grain bread with extra virgin olive oil and herbs.
- Substitute avocado for bacon with eggs or in a salad or sandwich. Use this healthy fat in moderation.
- Have less red meat and more salmon, basted with extra virgin olive oil.
- Switch from salads loaded with cheese and croutons to mixed greens with a small helping of nuts and a generous amount of fruit.
- Skip mayonnaise and sour cream dips and go for hummus.
- Whether you exercise in 10-minute increments or 30 minutes or more at a time, aim for a minimum of two and-a-half hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.