People who are obese, face much greater health risks. The extra weight an obese person is likely carrying, can cause a number of physical problems such as bone and joint problems. They are also more likely to suffer from diseases like diabetes, cancers, heart disease, and other serious medical conditions. These health problems often centre around a condition known as metabolic syndrome.
For an obese person, the resulting health risks are generally directly tied to this syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is just a term for a cluster of conditions that tend to occur together. The presence of these conditions is a pretty good indicator of a person’s future health.
For instance, a person with metabolic syndrome stands a much higher chance of developing heart disease, diabetes or having a stroke, than a person who doesn’t have the condition. Equally, someone who suffers from only one or two of the above conditions which make up metabolic syndrome, will be slightly less at risk, than a person with a full blown case of metabolic syndrome.
Conditions Generally Present in Metabolic Syndrome
- Obesity – People with metabolic syndrome are generally obese, and often carry most of their body fat around their stomach, giving them an “apple” shape.
- High blood triglycerides (fat)
- High blood pressure
- Low HDL cholesterol levels. This is high-density lipoprotein, also known as the “good” cholesterol. Having a low good cholesterol level has been found to be more dangerous than having a high “bad” cholesterol, or LDL (low-density lipoprotein) level
- Insulin resistance
It is possible to have one or two of these conditions without ever developing metabolic syndrome, however the risk of developing the other conditions is very high. In fact, having just one of the conditions listed above makes it very likely that one will develop the others.
A person’s health risks are elevated by being obese, but there are also factors in metabolic syndrome that a person can’t control. A family history of diabetes for instance, puts you at greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Age and race are also factors. Asians and Hispanics tend to develop metabolic syndrome at a greater rate than other races. And the older a person gets, the greater the risk of developing the syndrome.
But for the most part, the conditions that make up metabolic syndrome, and the syndrome itself are preventable, and there are no special drugs or treatments required to prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome.
How to Prevent Metabolic Syndrome
The first recommendation, whether you want to prevent the syndrome or reverse it, is to eat a healthy diet. Choose whole foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables and avoid carb-laden, starchy processed foods. Don’t drink sodas or other sugar-rich beverages, but instead opt for water.
The next step is to start exercising. Walk for half an hour or so each day. That’s all it takes. This along with a healthy diet, can help you lose weight, which is the third step you need to take to defeat metabolic syndrome. Oh, and the risks of developing this syndrome are also increased if you smoke, so quit smoking and you should be on your way to preventing or reversing the disease.
If you have any tips of your own for preventing or reversing metabolic syndrome, we’d love to hear them in the comments below.