Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol are dangerous alone but when they occur at the same time the risk for heart disease skyrockets. That’s the case with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions occurring together that dramatically boost cardiovascular risk.
It is difficult to know just how many people have metabolic syndrome. Estimates vary but according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), roughly 66 million US adults meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome.
At Burlington Medical Center, board-certified internal medicine and endocrinology physician Dr. Sam Morayati and our team help the community of Burlington, North Carolina stay as healthy as possible and this starts with preventive healthcare.
Reducing dangerous risk factors to prevent disease is the best way to maintain wellness. Of course, if you have a chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes, our compassionate team can help you best manage your condition to prevent complications.
Awareness is your best weapon against chronic illness. Keep reading to learn about metabolic syndrome and how it impacts your risk of developing heart disease and discuss a care plan with Dr. Morayati.
What is metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome isn’t a disease by itself and having a condition such as high blood pressure doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. Rather, the more conditions you have that impact cardiovascular health raise your risk of heart disease. These conditions include:
- High blood pressure
- Elevated blood sugar
- Abnormal cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- Excess body fat around the midsection
A diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is considered when you have three or more of these risk factors. It is important to attend regular checkups to evaluate your general health. If you have conditions that raise your heart disease risk, regular checkups give your provider the opportunity to detect them as early as possible so you can take action.
Who is at risk for metabolic syndrome?
Insulin resistance is an underlying factor in metabolic syndrome. Insulin is a hormone your pancreas produces to move glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells for use or storage. In people with insulin resistance, the cells fail to respond as they should to insulin, causing the pancreas to produce more insulin to get the job done.
Over time this can contribute to various health issues. Most people with metabolic syndrome have insulin resistance making it the primary risk factor. The risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age.
Managing metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome causes no physical symptoms. Keeping up with regular health checkups is the best way to know the status of your health. If you have three or more risk factors, talk to your provider about steps you can take to stay healthy. Initial management of metabolic syndrome involves lifestyle changes.
Making changes to your diet and adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of moderate-intensity exercises can help reverse metabolic syndrome and protect your heart health. Your provider may add medication such as drug therapy to lower blood sugar if your blood glucose is persistently elevated.
You’re right to feel concerned about metabolic syndrome. Partnering with a health care provider and making health your top priority are the best steps you can take in maintaining health.
To learn more and for all of your primary care needs, contact us at Burlington Medical Center to schedule an appointment with Dr. Morayati at our Burlington, North Carolina office. We also offer in-person and telehealth appointments.