Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of five medical conditions, including:
- High triglyceride level
- Low HDL cholesterol (good) level
- High blood pressure
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Excess body fat concentrated around your waist
These conditions increase your risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Diagnosis is based on the presence of any three of these five medical conditions. These are detected thorough physical exam and a battery of tests.
Treatment of metabolic syndrome is aimed at preventing heart diseases. Your doctor first works on lowering your high LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and blood pressure and managing diabetes. Treatment involves making lifestyle changes such as:
- Losing weight: Your doctor designs a weight-loss plan and helps you set certain achievable goals to reduce your weight. You should aim to maintain a healthy weight of 25 BMI in order to prevent/manage metabolic syndrome.
- Eating a healthy low calorie diet: You are advised to maintain a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, and avoid excess salt, refined food, fats and added sugars. You can include low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean meats, seafood, nuts and beans into your diet. Also limit the amount of alcohol intake.
- Exercising and being physically active: Even moderate amounts of exercises can add to healthy living. There are four main types of exercises that you can follow: bone strengthening, muscle-strengthening, aerobic and stretching. You can discuss with your doctor as to the type of exercises that are safe and effective for you.
- Quit smoking: Smoking can increase your risk of heart disease. You should quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke as well.
- Reduce stress: Employ certain relaxation techniques to lower your levels of stress.
When these changes do not help control the condition, your doctor usually prescribes medication to lower high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. These medications should be taken on a regular basis.
Metabolic syndrome should be managed lifelong to avert serious health problems.