Syndrome X also referred to as Metabolic syndrome is not a disease in itself but rather encompasses a range of conditions that often occur together.
These conditions include:
Hypertension - Blood pressure higher than 130/85 mmHg
Abdominal Obesity - deposits of abdominal fat which result in a waist measurement of over 40 inches for men or over 35 inches for women.
Elevated Blood Glucose Levels above 110 mg/dl but not diagnosed as diabetic.
Higher than normal blood triglyceride levels usually over 150 mg/dl.
Metabolic Syndrome is said to exist when three or more of these conditions are present in an individual.
A person with Metabolic Syndrome is at significantly greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease or a stroke.
Therefore, Syndrome X is not something to be taken lightly. If appropriate corrective actions are not taken on a timely basis the results could be extremely serious.
Metabolic syndrome has become more common over the years and now affects up to 30% of adults in industrialized countries.
Causes of the syndrome are not known with certainty but there are a number of factors that influence its incidence, including genetic and environmental elements. Unbalanced diet and lack of sufficient physical exercise appear to play a major role.
Starch is metabolized and converted to glucose in the intestines. This glucose is absorbed into the blood stream.
In a healthy individual the pancreas produces insulin which acts upon the glucose in the bloodstream allowing it to enter the muscles to produce energy to work the muscles.
However, as a result of Syndrome X the body is unable to effectively use insulin to allow glucose to be used by the muscles. Consequently, blood glucose levels remain elevated. This condition is referred to as Insulin Resistance.
The pancreas is forced to produce more insulin but it becomes less and less effective in reducing blood glucose levels. Left untreated this situation could rapidly progress to full blown diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome could also result in many other complications including:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Fatty liver - which could develop into inflammation of the liver and ultimately cirrhosis
Higher risk of dementia.
Lifestyle changes are vital to bring metabolic syndrome under control. Reducing body weight by even 5% could help to reduce blood pressure and improve the body's utilization of insulin.
Increased exercise even if it does not result in significant weight loss could result in lowering triglyceride levels and blood pressure.
If diet and exercise alone are not sufficient, medication may be required to lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
The main objective of the treatment will be to prevent further complications such as stroke or heart attack.
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