Friday, February 12, 2010

Metabolic Syndrome vs "Lifestyle Therapy"

I've never been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, but once, about three years ago, my doctor mentioned it as a possible cause of fertility problems we were having.  We never went further with that or fertility testing because we knew we had kids waiting for us somewhere in the world through adoption anyway (you can read more about our awesome Colombian blessings HERE).  But I've found myself drawn to articles about metabolic syndrome...what it is, how it affects people and what can be done to get rid of it.

From American Heart Association:

What is the metabolic syndrome?
"The metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. They include:
  • Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen)
  • Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders — high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol — that foster plaque buildups in artery walls)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can’t properly use insulin or blood sugar)
  • Prothrombotic state (e.g., high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 in the blood)
  • Proinflammatory state (e.g., elevated C-reactive protein in the blood)
People with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls (e.g., stroke and peripheral vascular disease) and type 2 diabetes. The metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the United States. It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans have it.
The dominant underlying risk factors for this syndrome appear to be abdominal obesity and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a generalized metabolic disorder, in which the body can’t use insulin efficiently. This is why the metabolic syndrome is also called the insulin resistance syndrome.
Other conditions associated with the syndrome include physical inactivity, aging, hormonal imbalance and genetic predisposition.
Some people are genetically predisposed to insulin resistance. Acquired factors, such as excess body fat and physical inactivity, can elicit insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome in these people. Most people with insulin resistance have abdominal obesity. The biologic mechanisms at the molecular level between insulin resistance and metabolic risk factors aren’t fully understood and appear to be complex."

It is interesting to read, because certainly I exhibit some of the characteristics...such as excessive fat tissue around the abdomen (doesn't that sound pleasant?!) and (formerly!) elevated blood pressure.  Prior to "Making Over Me", I was fairly inactive too.  Not sure about my insulin resistance level, prothrombiotic state or proinflammatory state, but I do know both of my cholesterol levels are in the 'good' range.  

Like I said before, the doc said in passing perhaps some of the challenges we were facing at the time could be due metabolic further testing or diagnosis was ever made (partly b/c I stopped going that doctor b/c I had problems with her tendency to 'throw medicine' at every ailment...and then didn't go to another doctor for over 2 years...).  BUT metabolic syndrome is basically a cluster of a bunch of medical conditions that are nearly ALL rooted in weight and activity level...and can nearly all be reduced or ELIMINATED with proper nutrition and exercise!  

Here's what the American Heart Association says about how to reduce or eliminate metabolic syndrome:

"The primary goal of clinical management of the metabolic syndrome is to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Then, the first-line therapy is to reduce the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease: stop smoking and reduce LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels to the recommended levels.
For managing both long- and short-term risk, lifestyle therapies are the first-line interventions to reduce the metabolic risk factors. These lifestyle interventions include:
  • Weight loss to achieve a desirable weight (BMI less than 25 kg/m2)
  • Increased physical activity, with a goal of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week 
  • Healthy eating habits that include reduced intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol"  

That's basically what we are doing, isn't it?  Lifestyle Therapy!  I like that.  January 4, 2010 I started new "Lifestyle Therapy" and I'm never lookin' back...metabolic syndrome or NO metabolic syndrome (and there certainly will be no question about metabolic syndrome once I drop those 100 pounds...nearly 14 of which are already GONE!!)

We ARE doing this!!!


  1. Hi! I came by to give you the link for the virtual bodies with goal weight, but now I can't find it! I thought it was on Ladies Home Journal's website. They have lots of health stuff, but I no longer see the virtual body thing. :-/

  2. Wait, I found it. It's called My Virtual Model. :-D

  3. Awesome, thanks Mama Bear! I'll check it out!