Syndrome X, also known as metabolic syndrome, is a collection of conditions that when combined can increase the risk of dangerous conditions such as heart disease or strokes. The factors that may lead to metabolic syndrome diagnosis include obesity – in particular high levels of cholesterol, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, angina, advanced age, and rheumatism.
Metabolic syndrome is considered to be a precursor to chronic diabetes. A sufferer would have to actively strive to alleviate the risk factors in order to avoid the inevitable onset of diabetes.
Diabetes itself is a condition whereby the body's enzymes can no longer regulate the level of sugar in the bloodstream. Blood sugar levels must therefore be managed externally with insulin shots and carefully monitored sugar intake. Diabetes can in turn trigger a number of health problems, such as hyper and hypoglycemia, strokes, organ failure, and circulatory disease.
The main signifiers of Syndrome X include high blood pressure, decreased HDL cholesterol, impaired glucose tolerance, high levels of visceral fat (fatty deposits around the waist), and increased triglycerides.
As suggested by these symptoms, Syndrome X causes are closely linked to the causes of obesity, diabetes, and a number of related cardiovascular disorders. Doctors are as yet unsure exactly what causes metabolic syndrome at a molecular level, though genetic predisposition has been cited as a significant factor, alongside obesity and lifestyle choices.
The top priority for sufferers of metabolic syndrome should be to change their lifestyle and habits. Committing to a calorie-controlled diet and increasing physical activity may help reduce the risks and fight the progression of Syndrome X. Interestingly, cutting down on carbohydrates has proven more useful than the commonly prescribed reduction in dietary fats.
If after several months a change in lifestyle has not proved effective, more decisive measures may be taken. This could include drug treatment for each of the individual conditions that combine to form Syndrome X.
Prevention requires similar action to treatment - an active lifestyle and a healthy, well-balanced diet. Taking part in a sport you enjoy, or committing to weight-loss goals as part of a supportive community has proven most effective at keeping off the weight that has been lost through diet and exercise. Monitoring blood pressure and blood sugar levels is also good ways to keep on top of your vascular health.
As with obesity, Syndrome X has reached epidemic proportions in most developed areas of the world, and many in the medical community have spoken out in favour of widespread social change in order to combat the problem. A wholesale shift in attitude towards our health, exercise and the foods we eat will no doubt prove by far the most potent weapon against Syndrome X and its attendant health problems.
In the meantime, the same recurring advice proves useful once again. Stay healthy, stay active, and stick to a balanced diet.
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