Metabolic syndrome? What’s that?!

By January 25, 2014Diabetes

It’s a health condition that everyone’s talking about, but very few people actually know what it is. And although metabolic syndrome was only identified less than 20 years ago, it has become as widespread as pimples and the common cold.

Metabolic syndrome isn’t a disease in itself – it’s actually a cluster of risk factors which include insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels and abdominal fat. Obviously, having any one of these risk factors isn’t good, but when combined, they set the stage for some serious health problems. Together, these risk factors double your risk of blood vessel and heart disease, and increase your risk of diabetes by more than 5 times.

Who’s most at risk of getting it?
Most people with metabolic syndrome are usually overweight or obese, and doctors believe that the increase in reported cases is due to rising obesity rates. Visceral fat, the “deep” fat that wraps around the inner organs, is metabolically active and plays a key role in insulin resistance. In turn, this can lead to general weight gain and diabetes.

Given how common metabolic syndrome is, everyone should be aware of the risk factors. And it’s not just overweight people who get it, even a person with a normal body weight is at risk, thanks to fat distribution. In fact, around 5% of people who are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome have a normal body weight.

So how can it be prevented?
Besides putting on weight, not eating enough fruit and vegetables can also put you at risk for metabolic syndrome. A recent study showed that people who ate less than 5 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day were 4 times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, and people who became obese were 8 times more likely to develop it.

It’s not just adults who are at risk
Metabolic syndrome isn’t an adult-only disease, and recent studies have shown worrying results in children too. Maternal gestational diabetes, low birth weight, feeding practices, and genetic and socio- economic factors can all increase future risk for children.

Read  Do you have insulin resistance?

Could I have metabolic syndrome?
Most of the risk factors don’t have any symptoms, so the only way to find out if you have it is to meet with your doctor and get tested. They’ll check your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, and assess your overall health risk.

Want to find out more about metabolic syndrome? Sign up on our website, download the free Hello Doctor app in the iTunes or Google Play store, and you can speak to a doctor Anytime!

Get tested for Metabolic Syndrome at a Dis-Chem pharmacy:
If you think you’re at risk for metabolic syndrome, you can head to any of the pharmacies listed below and get tested. There, a nurse will take a sample of your blood and submit it for analysis before returning your results and devising a treatment plan to suit you. Treatment for metabolic syndrome is primarily a behavioural change, supported by a sound nutritional plan, and our nurses are there to give you the expert advice and counselling you’re looking for.

Testing is currently available at the following nationwide Dis-Chem pharmacies:
Athol Oaklands, Bayside, Benmore, Blue Route, Boksburg North, Brooklyn Mall, Canal Walk, Carlswald, Carnival Mall, Centurion Lake Mall, Claremont Cape, Clearwater Mall, Cresta, East Rand, Farramere, Festival Mall, Fourways Mall, Glenfair, Greenstone, Hazeldean, Krugerdorp, Lynnwood Road, Mondeor, Montana, Nicolway, Northgate, Norwood, Olympus, Paarl Mall, Park Meadows, Randridge, Raslouw, Roodepoort, Sea Point, Somerset Mall, Strubensvalley, The Glen, Tygervalley, Verdi, Victory Park, Westgate, Wonderboom Junction, Woodlands, and Woodmead.

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