Metabolic syndrome refers to a combination of chronic conditions: diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Any one of these on their own is bad for your health but in combination present ever more serious risks. These are common conditions and are linked. The NHS estimates as many as 1 in 3 older adults in the UK have metabolic syndrome.
What are the symptoms?
The most visually obvious symptom is due to obesity. People with excess fat around their waist and who are very overweight. High amounts of triglycerides in the blood, high blood pressure and difficulty controlling blood sugar levels due to insulin resistance are also symptoms.
What can you do?
The best thing you can do is work with your doctor or other health care professionals to start losing weight safely and make changes to your lifestyle for the sake of your long-term health. Being overweight puts huge amounts of unnecessary strain on your body including your joints and your heart. It is also known to be one of the main risk factors for diabetes.
Going hand in hand with losing weight is making exercise a regular activity and controlling your diet. Exercise doesn’t need to be intense to begin with. Just get moving with simple activities like walking and build up. It’s important to be realistic about what you are capable of as you start a weight loss plan. Trying to do too much will lead to injury and discouragement. Start small and track your progress and after a few months you will see progress. Incremental gains add up and losing weight is a long-term process.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control. Avoid eating high amounts of sugary foods or high carbohydrate foods as these can lead to spikes in your blood glucose. Such spikes can result in a state of hyperglycemia if you have diabetes which has symptoms including increased levels of this, a dry mouth, feeling sick and tiredness.
Sugary, highly-processed foods also contain many empty calories. That means they contain lots of calories but neither leave you feeling full nor contain much nutritional value. This makes them easy to overeat and can make you easily consume more calories than you need with this excess being stored as fat. In order to lose weight, you need to aim to have a slight calorie deficit. That means consuming fewer calories than you burn each day. The difference is taken from stored fat, helping you lose weight.
Quit unhealthy habits
Stopping smoking and cutting down on your alcohol consumption is good for your body too, especially your heart. Work on a plan to replace these habits or reduce them to help reduce your risks due to metabolic syndrome.
Get medical help
Speak to your healthcare professional about how you can best manage your metabolic syndrome. They may prescribe you medication, suggest new strategies or be able to point you in the direction of support groups.
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