Tips For Treating Metabolic Syndrome

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Metabolic syndrome occurs when several medical conditions that elevate your risk for serious diseases, such as stroke and heart attack, are present at the same time. If you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, there are several strategies to help manage the condition and reduce your risks.

Deal With Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure is one of the criteria for metabolic syndrome. It is best to be proactive in managing your blood pressure when you notice the number beginning to creep up. One of the best approaches in managing your blood pressure is through lifestyle changes. Even slight changes in your weight can have a significant effect on your blood pressure. Reducing or eliminating processed and salty foods can also help. Try eating most of your diet from whole foods and cook meals at home. Leave eating out for the occasional treat.

Adapting to less salt in your diet can be challenging because food seems bland without it. Take it slowly by subtracting a little salt at a time and replacing it with herbs and spices. Drinking plenty water and sugar-free, caffeine-free beverages can reduce water retention. For some people, even aggressive changes to their lifestyle will not mitigate blood pressure problems. Medication is always an option to keep your blood pressure at safe levels. Your primary care physician may start you off with hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), which is a diuretic. If this is not adequate in controlling your blood pressure, ACE inhibitors and beta blockers are other options, especially when combined with HCTZ.

Watch Your Blood Glucose

Doctors typically become concerned with your blood glucose when your fasting numbers are over 100 or random blood glucose is over 140. Much like hypertension, lifestyle changes are beneficial in reducing your blood glucose. You may need to make additional modifications to your diet to help reduce the amount of sugar and carbohydrates you consume and help the insulin you make function appropriately. You can start by swapping sugar for sugar substitutes and using alternatives, such as honey or agave, in moderation. If you cannot make the change completely, start with using half sugar and half-sugar alternatives.

As you become adjusted, continue to use less sugar and more sugar alternatives until you have weened yourself off sugar completely. Unfortunately, carbohydrates can be a significant problem in your diet when you are showing signs of insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. For many people, opting for a low carbohydrate diet is helpful in reaching acceptable numbers and shedding excess weight around their abdomen. When you do eat carbohydrates, try to eat complex carbohydrates, which take longer to digest and typically do not cause dramatic changes in your blood glucose levels.

Reduce Your Cholesterol

Elevated bad cholesterol, low levels of good cholesterol, and high triglycerides are also part of metabolic syndrome. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are considered the bad cholesterol because high levels are associated with coronary artery disease and stroke. The good cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) can help remove LDL from the blood stream. Elevated triglycerides can also increase your risk of heart disease. Although there can be genetic factors associated with high cholesterol, which necessitates medication for better control, most people can change their numbers through diet.

Reducing saturated and trans fats from your diet is important. Both are considered the "artery clogging" fats. Previously, dietary cholesterol was thought to be a contributor in the development of heart disease. Now, in most people, dietary cholesterol is not enough of a contributor in heart disease that it warrants severe restrictions. Egg yolks and dark meat poultry are no longer considered bad foods, due to their higher cholesterol amounts. It is just as important to increase healthy fats as it is to decrease the bad ones. Adding healthy fats through oily fish, nuts, and avocados can help since they are packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Just like all other foods, they must be consumed in moderation.

Metabolic syndrome significantly increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. By proactively keeping your numbers at acceptable levels, you can greatly reduce your risk of significant cardiovascular and neurovascular issues.