Metabolic Syndrome: September 23, 2011

It’s a dangerous condition many people never see coming. Metabolic syndrome is a group of health conditions that puts you at greater risk for heart disease.

“Traditional things we look at as part of the metabolic syndrome are high blood pressure, high fasting blood glucose or pre-diabetes, a low good cholesterol, high triglyceride level, and then the waist circumference,” says Dr. Brian Taschner, a cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

By definition, people who meet three of these five criteria, have metabolic syndrome.

“They seem to have a synergistic affect meaning that instead of being additive they’re exponential. So the more of these you have your risk of cardiac disease goes up exponentially,” says Dr. Taschner.

Call it the Silent Epidemic. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 adults already has metabolic syndrome. Many of them have no idea the trouble that is brewing inside of them.

Louis Furen was already diagnosed with diabetes. He takes medications for that, along with pills to prevent heart attack and strokes.

“I take medication for the various things that I might be subjected to, really it’s not so much of what I have experienced; it’s what they want to prevent me from having.”

Studies show people with metabolic syndrome are at triple the risk for heart disease or stroke and have a quadrupled risk of developing diabetes. Doctors find this growing problem is largely preventable. A key factor: weight control.

“While patients are losing weight, we might see improvement in things like the blood pressure and the cholesterol parameters or in even the blood sugars,” says Dr. Taschner.

“I ate what I wanted to up to a certain point then when I developed these health problems I was put on diets that were supposed to counteract that, as well as the medication,” says Louis.

Louis eats right now and hits the gym. As a result, he’s going strong.