What is metabolic syndrome?

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I’m not a doctor so this will be a broad layman’s understanding of metabolic syndrome. Please do your own research and speak with your doctor. I’ve provided a few links at the bottom with some good informaiton. This is the first in a series of short articles on the topic.

What is it?

The term “metabolic syndrome” has been in the news a great deal lately especially surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. People suffering from metabolic syndrome are at a higher risk of death should they contract the COVID-19 virus. Now more than ever it’s important to know what metabolic syndrome is. I’ll have some follow up posts on what you can do to prevent or reverse it.

The quick definition of metabolic syndrome is a person who suffers from at least three of the following five medical conditions. They are:

  • Abdominal Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Blood Sugar
  • High Serum Triglycerides
  • Low Serum High-Density Lipoprotein

If you have any of these three you are at a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Both of these conditions, along with obesity, are high-risk factors for COVID-19 morbidity.

Possible Causes

The Standard American Diet (SAD) may be responsible for some people developing metabolic syndrome. The High Carb Low Fat (HCLF) diet promoted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institute of Health, and the World Health Organization, among others, has been viewed lately as contributing to an epidemic of people becoming insulin resistant. When a person becomes resistant to insulin they have difficulty removing glucose from their bloodstream which requires their body to produce more insulin or in the case of people with type-2 diabetes their doctor prescribes additional insulin because their body won’t produce enough. Insulin is the primary hormone involved in converting glucose to fat. More insulin in a person’s bloodstream generally leads to obesity. There are arguments, however, as to whether obesity causes insulin resistance or insulin resistance causes obesity. This issue is irrelevant to this discussion.

The main point is that obesity is largely caused by the overconsumption of carbohydrates and obesity leads to several of the other health conditions that make up metabolic syndrome.

References

WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/metabolic-syndrome-what-is-it#1

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351916

National Institute of Health: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_syndrome

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