When discussing weight loss struggles, many people might suggest that a slow metabolism is to blame. But, for most people, diet, and lifestyle are primarily responsible for the speed of their metabolism. However, there are rare cases in which individuals actually do have a slower metabolism than normal. This can make it difficult for the body to convert food into energy, thereby making it harder to lose weight. This condition is known as metabolic syndrome. But what is metabolic syndrome, exactly? Are there any extra risks associated with it, and how can they be identified?
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
So, what is metabolic syndrome? Metabolic syndrome is actually a combination of several conditions that can affect your health in various ways. These conditions are:
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar (glucose) levels
- Low HDL Cholesterol levels
- High blood triglyceride levels
- Large waistline, or “apple” or “pear” shaped body
If an individual experiences three of these five conditions, they may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms
The conditions listed above each have varying symptoms, some of which are easier to identify than others.
Having a large waistline, or abdominal obesity, is the most noticeable visible sign of metabolic syndrome. Having higher levels of fat in the stomach can also lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
Other metabolic syndrome symptoms can be harder to identify on their own. Symptoms of high blood pressure include severe headaches, blurred vision, fatigue, confusion, difficulty breathing, or chest pain.
High blood sugar symptoms include fatigue, frequent thirst or dry mouth, frequent urination, blurred vision, or recurring infections.
Symptoms of low triglyceride levels can include tiredness, dry skin, feeling cold, and muscular deterioration.
There are no noticeable signs of low HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol). However, like many of the other metabolic syndrome symptoms, low HDL levels are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Each of the conditions associated with this condition poses serious health risks beyond difficulty in losing weight. If you suffer from any combination of these conditions, you should consult with a doctor as soon as you can. A doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis and effective course of treatment.
Metabolic Syndrome Treatment
In most cases, the first course of treatment will focus on lifestyle and nutritional changes. Most of the conditions associated with this syndrome are linked to poor diet and inactivity. To combat the symptoms and boost metabolism, doctors and nutritionists will prescribe dietary changes and encourage increased activity levels. Here are a few common recommendations for metabolic syndrome treatment.
Eating a Healthier Diet
Diet is one of the most important factors related to this condition. Most patients are encouraged to make changes to their diet. A great place to start is by substituting processed foods, sugary snacks, and high LDL cholesterol foods for healthier alternatives. Contrary to what many fad diet plans recommend, a healthy diet plan involves eating consistent, healthy meals, rather than skipping meals entirely.
Light to moderate exercise, such as walking, each day is another common step toward treating this syndrome. Most doctors and nutritionists will recommend 30 minutes of activity each day to boost metabolism and fight symptoms.
Give Up Smoking or Drinking
Smoking and drinking alcohol are associated with an increased risk of several of the conditions associated with metabolism issues. As such, doctors will often recommend that patients give up these habits upon diagnosis.
High-stress levels can increase blood pressure and also make it harder to lose weight. Avoiding high-stress activities is one way to reduce stress levels. Other stress-reducing options for metabolic syndrome treatment might include physical activity, yoga, and meditation.
Read more about The Metabolism Reboot to decide if our weight loss program is right for you.