Preventing Metabolic Syndrome
Obviously, as with most diseases preventing metabolic syndrome is easier than fixing it once we have it. As we talked about in the previous post What is Metabolic Syndrome metabolic syndrome is a combination of different signs which indicate diseases or risks for those diseases. There is no sure way to prevent metabolic syndrome in everyone. Some people are genetically just going to get Diabetes, or one or more of the other diseases associated with metabolic syndrome. However, for most of us, getting these diseases is a choice. For those who are predisposed to these diseases, or already have one or more of them, there is still a choice. This is choosing how you will live your life. This determines how soon you’ll get these diseases, and how healthy you will be once you have them.
Factors to consider:
There are lots of factors that cause our bodies to weaken and become diseased. While each of them by itself usually isn’t enough to knock you down, over time the different stresses can cause us to sicken and die long before our time.
While Aging and genetics are something we can’t change, there are a number of factors to look at for preventing metabolic syndrome:
I know a fellow doctor who is extremely active and healthy; he runs marathons and half marathons regularly. But he is also diabetic. As such he has to watch what he eats a little more carefully than the rest of us. Funny though, he will likely outlive most of the rest of us. He has more energy and enthusiasm for life than almost anyone I know, so yes, there is a choice even when you have a disease.
- Inactive lifestyle
- Insulin resistance
By controlling these three factors many of us will never have to worry about diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or even kidney disease or certain types of cancer. We do this by choosing the right type and amount of exercise. We eat a healthy diet which is low in added salt, sugar, and LDL fats. While practicing a healthy sleep schedule, and limiting our stress levels.
How do we control these factors?
Two diets that the Mayo Clinic recommends for prevention or managing metabolic syndrome are a Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet (Dietary approaches to stop hypertension). Here’s a good PDF from the NIH explaining the DASH Diet better.
For more information on diet please refer to my previous post on diet basics
While there are many benefits of exercise, one of the most important as we get older is in how it helps prevent disease.
There are many variations on type of exercise and duration. However, the best option is to try for a sustained degree of moderate level workout for multiple days a week.
For more detail check out the exercise principles page