Metabolic disorders are extremely common, and research points to our sedentary lifestyles, high-calorie/low-fiber diets, and lack of exercise as a factor in the prevalence of these disorders.
Not to be taken lightly, metabolic disorders can become Metabolic Syndrome, also known as Insulin Resistance Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is “an accumulation of several disorders, which together raise the risk of an individual developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and diabetes mellitus, and vascular and neurological complications such as a cerebrovascular accident.” 2
For Metabolic Syndrome to be suspected, clients must have at least 3 or 4 of certain risk factors. Having a large waist circumference (indicating high levels of visceral fat), low HDL (“good” cholesterol), high blood glucose levels, high triglyceride levels, and chronic hypertension all point to this Syndrome.
And because these risk factors also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke, it’s essential to determine if you have Metabolic Syndrome, and if you do, promptly do what you can to reduce the risks.
WHAT CAN BE DONE IF YOU HAVE METABOLIC SYNDROME?
Many clients are used to a more conventional approach to metabolic syndrome. Medication is often prescribed to battle individual symptoms, such as high blood pressure and glucose levels. But there are other factors to consider.
STRESS - chronic stress increases the hormone cortisol. And when cortisol levels remain high, they can cause inflammation and Type 2 Diabetes.
DIGESTIVE HEALTH - our gut microbiome can impact so many functions of our bodies. Any gut dysbiosis or infection can contribute to inflammation and issues with your immune system.
WEIGHT - as mentioned, high levels of visceral fat are a contributing factor to metabolic syndrome. By maintaining a healthy weight and reducing visceral fat, it can help improve your overall health
HOW FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CAN HELP
As with anything regarding Functional Medicine, our goal is to reduce or eliminate symptoms while attacking the root cause of the issue. Here at the Heartland Natural Clinic, there is no blanket approach, and each individual’s plan depends on their unique symptoms and underlying causes.
Lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on helping reduce the risk factors of metabolic syndrome. This requires a mindset shift and the understanding that changing your lifestyle may be the “more difficult” route, but long term, it can have life-altering effects.
● Increase physical activity - exercise (specifically aerobic exercise) can help to improve the various aspects of metabolic syndrome, including reducing waist circumference and blood pressure. It can also help improve insulin sensitivity
● Shift your diet - by switching to a heart-healthy diet that includes non-processed, whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, you can help to reduce your overall inflammation
● Reduce your sugar/carb intake - when you have insulin resistance, your cells lose their sensitivity to insulin, resulting in high insulin and blood sugar levels. By reducing carbs and sugar, it reduces the amount of insulin in the body, helping reduce insulin resistance
● Manage stress and improve sleep - chronic stress and inflammation can contribute to insulin resistance. Getting adequate sleep and managing stress levels may be beneficial
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*This article is for informational purposes only