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Fighting Back Against Metabolic Syndrome

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About 34 percent of American adults have metabolic syndrome. The condition increases the risk of both coronary heart disease and stroke because it can damage the walls of blood vessels and raise the likelihood of blood clots.

By definition, you have metabolic syndrome if you have at least three of the following five findings:

  • Waist circumference greater than 40 inches in men and more than 35 inches in women
  • Fasting triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or higher, or taking medication to reduce triglycerides
  • HDL cholesterol level of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
  • Blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or higher, or taking blood pressure-lowering medication
  • Fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dL or higher

You can delay or even prevent metabolic syndrome by making some lifestyle changes. Try these strategies:

Exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week, such as brisk walking or bicycling, which breaks down to just over 20 minutes a day. Consider getting a pedometer to track your steps. Aim for at least 5,000 steps a day, and ideally 10,000 steps.

Lose weight. Losing weight can improve your body’s ability to process insulin and lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Eat a healthful diet. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet have been found to improve health in people who have components of metabolic syndrome. Both eating plans limit unhealthy fats (like saturated and trans fats) and emphasize fruits, vegetables, heart-healthy fish and whole grains.

Stop smoking. Smoking increases heart risks and worsens the health consequences of metabolic syndrome. If you’re ready to quit, many smoking cessation products are available that can help.

Your doctor may also prescribe medications to help lower your blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol or blood sugar. 

Posted in Heart Health on May 13, 2016

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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