Lifestyle Changes For The Metabolic Syndrome
The metabolic syndrome is not a disease but a group of factors — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The prevalence of obesity and the metabolic syndrome is rapidly increasing in India and other South Asian countries, leading to increased mortality and morbidity.
- Central obesity: Increased waist circumference (males: ≥90 cm and for females: ≥80 cm)
- High blood pressure: Elevated blood pressure (systolic blood pressure ≥130 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure ≥85 mmHg or drug treatment for hypertension)
- High triglycerides: Hypertriglyceredimia ≥150 mg/dl
- Low HDL cholesterol: (Males <40 mg/dl (1 mmol/l) and for females <50 mg/dl
- Insulin resistance: Elevated blood sugar (fasting blood sugar ≥100 mg/ dl or drug treatment for diabetes mellitus)
- Avoid intake of sugar, saturated fats, trans fat, refined carbohydrates and sweetened beverages.
- Increase dietary fibre by including green leafy vegetables and fruits to help prevent obesity.
- Reduce high-sodium foods such as table salt, pickles, papads and processed foods.
- Include foods with healthy MUFA fats such as avocado, fatty fishes such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, olive and canola oil.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking.
- It is essential to identify maladaptive behaviour related to eating habits and rewards, especially in children and younger adults.
- Habits are difficult to change in older individuals. It is essential that corrective measures continue even after the achievement of a healthy lifestyle.
- Reduce stress by engaging in deep breathing and meditation.
- Regular exercise should be promoted to increase energy expenditure and achieve weight loss and increase insulin sensitivity.
- Exercise is also known to reduce blood pressure, increase HDL cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels.
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