Metabolic Syndrome: The New Silent Killer

Metabolic Syndrome

One in three Americans are on a superhighway to disease and they probably don’t know it.

Metabolic syndrome is a dangerous condition responsible for an increasing number of deaths, but despite that sobering statistic, many people still haven’t heard of it.

It has become so serious, that obesity, a key risk factor for metabolic syndrome is now overtaking smoking as the leading cause of premature death.

Being overweight or obese is a key risk factor for metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions/risk factors that work together to exponentially increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health problems.

Complications due to Metabolic Syndrome

The risk factors include increased blood pressure, excess fat on your waistline, excess body fat, insulin resistance and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

This insidious killer is silent because unfortunately, Metabolic Syndrome is often left undiagnosed and untreated.

According to research, being significantly overweight or obese is both a risk factor and a major factor accelerating the pathway to metabolic syndrome.

Risk Factors

Scientists liken people’s ignorance of the condition today, to the situation of the soaring rates of hypertension (high blood pressure) in the 1970s - the original silent killer - which was driven by increased salt consumption.

At that time, only half of those people with hypertension were aware of their diagnosis and only slightly more than half of these were treated according to records.

Warning Signs

Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed when any three of the following five risk factors are present:

Risk Factors of Metabolic Syndrome (source AHA):

  • Abdominal obesity (Waist circumference of 40 inches or above in men, and 35 inches or above in women)
  • Triglyceride level of 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) or greater
  • HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
  • Systolic blood pressure (top number) of 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or greater, or diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) of 85 mm Hg or greater
  • Fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or greater 

Metabolic syndrome is particularly dangerous because when these individual risk conditions or metabolic disorders are seen together, the likelihood increases considerably for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

High blood pressure on its own may be serious, but when combined with abdominal obesity and high fasting glucose levels, than those conditions can combine to significantly accelerate your risk of disease.

Metabolic syndrome not only means a greater chance of cardiovascular problems though.

The different metabolic disorders also work together to accelerate the fatty plaque building-up and hardening in your arteries.

That condition, known as atherosclerosis, is the deadly process so often behind cardiovascular disease, heart problems and stroke

Silo Mentality

Unfortunately up until now, our health care system has assessed each of the major risk factors of metabolic syndrome on an individual basis.

There are even serious suggestions that our healthcare system is actually preventing us from reversing obesity in America.

A study published in 2014 in the journal Clinical Obesity found that only half of primary care physician visits included weight discussions, and only one third of those weight discussions included an evaluation and treatment strategy.

If the American health-care system is serious about obesity, then policies need to change drastically to promote obesity prevention and control.

Like hypertension (high blood pressure) in the 1970s, metabolic syndrome is currently under-diagnosed, under-treated and killing with increasing regularity.

How to prevent metabolic syndrome?

According to the American Heart Association, you can reduce your risks significantly by reducing your weight; increasing your physical activity; eating a heart-healthy diet that's rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fish.

Check the risk factors of metabolic disease and if you present with at least three of them.

Work with your healthcare provider to monitor and manage blood glucose, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Ask your physician about a blood test called a lipoprotein panel, which shows your levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Herbal Remedies for Metabolic Syndrome

Several herbs have shown promise in helping to help manage and prevent some of the risk factors of metabolic disease like obesity.

None more than Jiaogulan, known as ‘the immortality herb’.

In both clinical and animal studies, Jiaogulan has shown to specifically affect several of the metabolic conditions and risk factors of metabolic syndrome including helping with weight loss.