There is much talk about the obesity epidemic in America—about our population’s burgeoning weight problem. Often, though, this talk is superficial. We focus on lifestyle issues and on the external symptoms of being overweight, but not necessarily on some of the underlying medical conditions that could be fueling the obesity epidemic.
It is possible that someone dealing with weight problems—or with other health concerns—may actually be struggling with a more insidious problem. A possible culprit could be Metabolic Syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome at a Glance
Metabolic Syndrome can be a little bit prickly, a little bit hard to talk about with any clarity. That’s because it really refers to a cluster of conditions that all occur simultaneously. These conditions include high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and excess fat around the waistline, among other things.
The implications of Metabolic Syndrome are obviously quite dire: Taken together, these various symptoms can lead to a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke and diabetes.
Seeing a Physician About Metabolic Syndrome
If you have one or even a couple of these symptoms, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have Metabolic Syndrome. It does put you at a higher risk for heart trouble, though. And, if you have a multiple amount of these symptoms occurring at the same time, it’s reason enough to get a checkup and ask your doctor about Metabolic Syndrome.
The difficult thing about Metabolic Syndrome is that it can be a little hard to know whether you really do have it. External symptoms tend to be minimal, save for some extra fat around the waistline. High blood sugar levels may also lead to feelings of fatigue or a general lack of energy. Other than that, though, Metabolic Syndrome can often manifest in the body asymptomatically, at least for a while.
Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin
Metabolic syndrome ultimately boils down to insulin—or, more precisely, to a condition called insulin resistance. Here’s how the body normally works: When you eat food, the body breaks everything down into sugars or glucose. Insulin—a hormone made in the pancreas—helps take that glucose to your cells, where it is used as fuel for all of your bodily functions.
But that’s not quite how things work for people who have insulin resistance. In these cases, the body does not respond to insulin the way it is supposed to, and glucose cannot enter the cells like it’s supposed to. The body confronts this problem by going into overdrive, producing more and more insulin to help push that glucose through.
Eventually, the body can exhaust its ability to keep blood glucose in the normal range—which is basically the cause of diabetes. Additionally, insulin resistance—combined with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as inactivity—are linked with Metabolic Syndrome.
Treating Metabolic Syndrome
There are various ways to treat Metabolic Syndrome. In extreme cases, doctors may recommend drug therapy, using some of the same medications that are used to regulate insulin and glucose in diabetes patients.
Ideally, though, your treatment will consist primarily of more natural solutions, including some simple tweaks to your lifestyle. Healthier nutritional habits, combined with more regular physical activity, can go a long way toward mitigating the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome.
Another natural approach is hormone therapy. That’s something we offer here at LongevityMed. Hormone therapy can help to regulate insulin production and stave off some of the grim effects of Metabolic Syndrome.
For many, that’s a good starting point. Contact us at your leisure to learn more about Metabolic Syndrome—and about the role hormone therapy can play in treating it.