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Heart attacks are known for their diverse risk factors, the Metabolic Syndrome is an example of one of the risky complications that is usually associated with heart attacks. Other common risk factors due heart attacks include diabetes and high blood pressure. The World Health Organization statistics depict that approximately 25 % of the global adult population has been diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome, in addition, their chances of succumbing to the development of type 2 diabetes is high (Undurti, 2010). Therefore, the Metabolic Syndrome is considered as one of the most fatal cardiovascular diseases that is becoming a global burden, in comparison with other chronic diseases such as diabetes (Fauci, 2008).
Diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome and its definitions
There are diverse definitions and diagnostic approaches of Metabolic Syndrome depending on the diverse international health organizations. The International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) and the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) define Metabolic Syndrome in two chief ways. Both the IDF and the NCEP contend that if the Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 30 kilograms per square meter of the body area, then the case is central obesity and there is no need to take heed in the circumference of the waist (Narasimhan & Raynor, 2010).
The NCEP defines Metabolic Syndrome use different criteria contrary to the IDF definitions, which puts into consideration geographical factors. The NCEP only uses standard set points for the circumference of the waist to diagnose for Metabolic Syndrome, irrespective of the geographical orientation for the individual. The American Heart Association uses the same criterion to diagnose cases of Metabolic Syndrome (Undurti, 2010).
The IDF diagnoses Metabolic Syndrome basing on the incidence of central obesity and an occurrence of high blood pressure with typical values of systolic blood pressure being greater than 130 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure being greater than 85 mm Hg. A high level of fasting plasma glucose of values greater than 100 milligrams per deciliter is also used to diagnose Metabolic Syndrome (Mittal, 2007).
The World Health Organization criteria for diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome use the occurrence of any type of diabetes mellitus, instances of affected glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. Blood pressures of more than 140 mmHg and central obesity are also used to diagnose Metabolic Syndrome (Narasimhan & Raynor, 2010).
Causes of Metabolic Syndrome
Medical research experts are yet to determine the significant cause of Metabolic Syndrome. However, the occurrence of abdominal obesity and high levels of insulin resistance have been considered major causes of Metabolic Syndrome (Hansen & Bray, 2008). Insulin resistance usually take place when the body cells such as adipose tissue and liver develop insensitivity to insulin, as a result, they develop resistance to insulin. This means that the absorption of glucose/ blood sugar is significantly impaired, this triggers the production of more insulin in order to aid in the absorption of glucose that is not in the blood stream; a condition called hyperinsulinaemia (Narasimhan & Raynor, 2010). Once the insulin cannot be further produced, blood sugar in the blood increases and results to diabetes mellitus of type 2, characterized with high levels of triglycerides (Fauci, 2008).
Central obesity is always related to cases of tissue resistance to insulin and Metabolic Syndrome. Abdominal obesity is responsible for causing instances of hypertension and increases the risk factor of any cardiovascular disease. In addition, it plays a significant role in effecting diabetes mellitus of type 2 and coronary heart disease. In addition, insulin resistance can result to other conditions such as cancer. Excess fat deposits in the abdomen are triggered by cases of central obesity. According to the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), approximately 1.8 billion people in the world have weight related complications, therefore increasing the risks of developing diabetes mellitus of type 2 that results into central adiposity. This indicates that there is a significant correlation linking waist circumference and high levels of fat deposits in the body (Narasimhan & Raynor, 2010).
Sedentary lifestyle is also one of the significant causation factors for Metabolic Syndrome. Lack of physical activity is always associated with increased cases of abdominal fat deposits and a decrease in the levels of HDL cholesterol; which in turn causes high blood pressure and high levels of blood sugar. Studies have depicted that individuals who sit idle for most of the time during the ay are more likely to develop Metabolic Syndrome compared to active individuals (Fauci, 2008).
Research studies also reveal that cases of prolonged stress are also a significant cause of Metabolic Syndrome since high stress levels affects the hormonal balance, which causes the levels of glucose and insulin to increase. As a result, they trigger central adiposity and insulin resistance. Other heart complications such as heart disease and cardiovascular disease are also linked to increasing cases of psychosocial stress (Narasimhan & Raynor, 2010).
Other causation factors such as genetics have little effect towards causing Metabolic Syndrome. In addition, they vary according to ethnicity.
Signs and symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
Most of the risk factors associated with Metabolic Syndrome do not have any visible signs and symptoms. One of the most significant sign and symptom of Metabolic Syndrome is central obesity. This is primarily due to fat deposits around the abdominal area that causes the waistline to be apple shaped. Belly fat is usually characterized by a large waistline due to adipose deposits which causes the abdomen to protrude in way that there is no particular orientation (Hansen & Bray, 2008).
The second notable symptom of Metabolic Syndrome is high blood pressures. High blood pressure does not have any signs that are visible. During the initial stages of developing high blood pressure, an individual may display signs such increased headaches and one feels dizzy most of the time. Individuals having high blood pressure also tend to depict increased nose bleeding. A person that has a high blood pressure also suffers from vision disorders and increased vomiting. Different people have different signs for high blood pressure, for instance, pregnant women will depict a somewhat different symptoms from infants. It is worth noting that not all cases of high blood pressure amount to Metabolic Syndrome (Narasimhan & Raynor, 2010).
Another significant symptom of Metabolic Syndrome is the occurrence of diabetes mellitus of type 2. Diabetes is strongly related to Metabolic Syndrome, in most cases, the occurrence of type 2 diabetes affirms that a person is developing Metabolic Syndrome. Diabetes mellitus of type 2 is characterized by the body resisting the generation of insulin and can be diagnosed by the presence of high blood sugar levels (Undurti, 2010). A fasting hyperglycemia is a significant symptom of Metabolic Syndrome that has been diagnosed using diabetes. Incidences of overweight also reveal that there is possibility that an individual is developing Metabolic Syndrome. Signs and symptoms that are usually concurrent with obesity are also evident in cases of Metabolic Syndrome (Hansen & Bray, 2008).
Another significant symptom of Metabolic Syndrome is reduced levels of HDL cholesterol in the blood. This is usually characterized by instances of dementia and memory loss in the long term in case an individual does not take the appropriate actions to raise the levels of HDL cholesterol (Mittal, 2007). Disorders associated with the levels of fat in the blood are also a key characteristic of the Metabolic Syndrome condition. Some of the blood fat disorders associated with this condition include high levels of triglycerides and high levels of LDL cholesterol, which causes fat build-up in the arteries. A person with this condition tends to be in a proinflamatory state.
Prevention and management of Metabolic Syndrome
The main objective behind management and prevention of Metabolic Syndrome is to prevent the occurrence of risk factors related to Metabolic Syndrome such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus type 2 and cardiovascular diseases (Mittal, 2007). This means that the most effective approach is to employ effective strategies that aim at the reduction of the occurrence of such risk factors. This means that the most effective therapeutic approach is to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol, increase the levels of HDL cholesterol, and reduce the levels of blood sugar and pressure to levels that do not put the person at the risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome.
There are diverse methods that medical experts have proposed in order to prevent the onset of Metabolic Syndrome. One of such approach is to engage in physical activity on a daily basis in order to reduce the levels of fat deposits in the body. Physical activity also helps in raising the levels of HDL cholesterol (Narasimhan & Raynor, 2010). In cases where physical activity does not seem fruitful, it is advisable to seek medical intervention. Medical treatment should be sought after approximately six months after physical activity has failed.
It is important to note that the different disorders associated with Metabolic Syndrome should be treated separately. The increase in HDL and decrease in LDL is achieved through using o cholesterol drugs. Medication such as metformin is used to lower the levels of insulin resistance (Narasimhan & Raynor, 2010). According to the WHO, engaging in physical activity is the most effective approach towards the prevention of Metabolic Syndrome. Medical experts have questioned the effectiveness of drugs used to reduce the body resistance towards insulin.
Another approach to prevent Metabolic Syndrome is through taking a healthy diet that has little amounts of calories. A combination of a healthy diet and the avoidance of sedentary lifestyle is one of the most effective approaches towards the prevention of occurrence of Metabolic Syndrome. Studies have reported people succumb to Metabolic Syndrome mainly because they fail to adhere to the principle that defines a healthy living and a non-sedentary lifestyle. Poor eating and drinking habits should be avoided at all costs (Undurti, 2010).
The American Heart Association proposes that lifestyle therapies are the most effective approach to preventing and managing Metabolic Syndrome. The most important interventions that a person should put into consideration while managing this condition include prioritizing on weight loss with the aim of reaching a Body Mass Index that is deemed healthy. In most cases, the appropriate BMI for any person should be less than 25 kilograms per square meter of the body surface area (Narasimhan & Raynor, 2010). Physical activities should entails about 30 minutes on a daily basis and incorporating a healthy eating trend that is contains less fat and calories.
Controversy surrounding Metabolic Syndrome
Medical experts have questioned the underlying criteria used to evaluate Metabolic Syndrome. The major area of concern is the different clinical criteria used in the diagnosis of the condition. Different health organizations have different criteria for diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome. In fact, when the diagnosis is based on the occurrence of factors such as obesity, then it is evident that the diagnosis of the syndrome has a little correlation with heart disease risks. The increase in these concerns compelled the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) to develop single clinical criteria that is to be used in the clinical diagnosis of the syndrome (Undurti, 2010).