Are You At Risk for Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that raises your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. You are more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you are overweight or don’t get enough exercise.
Count Your Risk Factors
There are five risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. While having any of the risk factors can mean trouble for your health, you need to have three or more to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. If you’re not sure what any of your numbers are, ask your health care provider.
Check each risk factor that you have:
___Extra weight in your middle. A waistline greater than 35 inches is a risk factor for women; greater than 40 inches is a risk factor for men.
___Low HDL. HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, less than 40 mg/dl is a risk factor for men; less than 50 mg/dl is a risk factor for women.
___High triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. Having a triglyceride level of 150 mg/dl or higher is a risk factor.
___High blood pressure. A blood pressure of 130/85 mmHg or higher is a risk factor.
___High fasting blood glucose. Having fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dl or higher is a risk factor.
_______ Total Risk Factors
Protect Your Health
If you meet the definition of metabolic syndrome or have any of these risk factors, talk with your provider and begin to take the following steps to protect your health:
Lose weight. Losing just 3 to 5 percent of your current weight can make a difference; losing more weight can help reduce all five risk factors.
Eat a heart-healthy diet. Ask your health care provider to recommend a heart-healthy diet. You can start by limiting saturated and trans fats, coconut and palm oils, sugary foods and drinks, salt, alcohol, and processed meats.
Get active. Aim to get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week—this can be as simple as brisk walking.
Quit smoking. If you smoke, quit. Ask your provider to suggest products and programs that can help.
Take your medicine. If your health care provider prescribes medicine to keep your HDL, triglycerides, blood pressure, or blood glucose under control, take it as directed.