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Metabolic Syndrome: What is it and can it be treated?

Metabolisches Syndrom

Many people have heard of “Metabolic Syndrome,” but what exactly does this term mean? What does it mean to be diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome? Is it curable, and what are the treatment options? How can a gastric balloon help manage the syndrome? These are the questions we’ll answer in this article.

Metabolic Syndrome, also known as a “lifestyle disease” or “disease of affluence,” can significantly impact your quality of life and life expectancy if left untreated. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what Metabolic Syndrome is, how to recognize it, and what treatment options are available.

What exactly is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is not a single disease but rather a combination of various symptoms. When these symptoms occur together, they increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Often referred to as the “deadly quartet,” Metabolic Syndrome comprises four main symptoms:

  1. Accumulation of fat primarily in the abdominal area (apple-shaped body or abdominal obesity)
  2. Elevated blood sugar levels or insulin resistance
  3. High blood lipid levels (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides)
  4. High blood pressure

When these health problems occur in combination, Metabolic Syndrome is present. The issue is that these symptoms often exacerbate each other, increasing the risks further.

How do you know if you have Metabolic Syndrome?

The symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome can be difficult to identify and often develop gradually. One of the most common signs is excess abdominal fat, which accumulates more around the waist than in the arms, legs, and buttocks. Generally, the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome are very non-specific and often interdependent, making self-diagnosis challenging. Insulin resistance itself does not cause symptoms but can affect blood lipid levels. Elevated blood lipid levels (triglycerides, LDL cholesterol) combined with low HDL cholesterol levels, as well as high blood sugar, are indicators. Unfortunately, these factors do not have direct, noticeable effects on your body, making them slow, unnoticed processes. High blood pressure is also hard to detect, but it can manifest as dizziness, headaches, ringing in the ears, fatigue, or nervousness. Elevated blood lipids, on the other hand, do not show direct symptoms and can go unnoticed. Regular blood and blood pressure checks with your doctor are essential to counteract the risks of type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, or cardiovascular diseases. Overweight and obesity are significant risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome but can be effectively treated.

It is important to note that not everyone with one or more of these symptoms necessarily has Metabolic Syndrome. If you suspect you have Metabolic Syndrome, consult a doctor.

Good to Know: Insulin Resistance

Insulin is the key hormone needed for sugar from our food to be absorbed into our cells for energy production. It is produced in the pancreas. When sugar is absorbed from the blood into the cells, blood sugar levels drop. Insulin resistance means that the body’s cells become less sensitive to the insulin signal. As a result, the cells can only partially use the sugar from the blood for energy, causing blood sugar levels to rise, leaving you feeling weak and tired. Additionally, the sugar from the blood is converted into fat and stored. Insulin resistance is the precursor to type 2 diabetes. Factors such as overweight (especially in the abdominal area), lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet increase the risk of insulin resistance.

What helps against Metabolic Syndrome?

If left untreated, Metabolic Syndrome can have serious health impacts and reduce your quality of life. Therefore, it is crucial to counteract it early to maintain your health. The diagnosis of “Metabolic Syndrome” is not an unavoidable fate and can be significantly improved with targeted measures.

Lifestyle changes, particularly dietary adjustments, regular exercise, weight loss, and quitting smoking, are very effective treatment options. It is particularly important to start these changes as early as possible to reduce the progression of the disease and its associated risks. Medication can also be a useful addition to lifestyle changes for more advanced Metabolic Syndrome.

How are Metabolic Syndrome and healthy eating connected?

A healthy diet is key to improving Metabolic Syndrome and maintaining your health. A healthy, balanced diet low in unhealthy fats and simple carbohydrates (sugar and white flour products) improves insulin resistance and high blood lipid levels. Reducing (salty) processed foods and a diet rich in vegetables are good foundations for lowering blood pressure. A healthy eating routine should include adequate protein, whole grains, plenty of vegetables and fruits, regular meals, and plenty of water.

How can a Gastric Balloon help manage the disease of affluence?

A gastric balloon helps you feel full more quickly and reduces your portion sizes, leading to weight loss as you eat less. Weight reduction positively impacts the symptoms of the deadly quartet and can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver. At My Weight, during your gastric balloon therapy, you will also be supported by your personal Weight Buddy, who will work with you on dietary adjustments and lifestyle changes. This ensures that your weight loss is not just a short-term fix but sustainable and effective.

Conclusion: Metabolic Syndrome

Overall, Metabolic Syndrome is a serious challenge but by no means unstoppable or final. Through early diagnosis, lifestyle changes, weight reduction, and therapeutic measures, the outlook can be significantly improved. A healthy diet plays a central role and is the key to preventing and treating this lifestyle disease. It is never too early or too late to start a conscious diet and a healthy lifestyle to keep Metabolic Syndrome in check and maintain your quality of life.

So many different things influence our metabolism and our weight: stress, illnesses, medication and the yo-yo effect are just a few aspects. Losing weight can be quite frustrating! But there is a way out for everyone! As a nutritionist at My Weight®, I support my patients individually and personally on their way to their desired weight. Losing weight can and should be fun...and we work on this together!

Julie - Weight Buddy® and nutritionist at My Weight®

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