Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Obesity, High Cholesterol, and
You know that being overweight or obese can be unhealthy.
But do you really understand why? When your body is working overtime packing
those extra pounds, it strains everything – your organs, veins, and bodily
processes. Obesity, being overweight, high blood pressure, and other physical
conditions dramatically increase you risk of heart disease, and all add up to a
condition called metabolic syndrome.
What is metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic refers to metabolism, or how the body uses energy.
Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that, when combined; greatly
increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease and type II diabetes. You
may have metabolic syndrome if you have at least three of these heart disease
Belly fat. This
means that you carry a lot of extra weight around your middle and have a large
waist circumference. Belly fat is a greater indicator of heart disease risk
than fat in other places on the body. Waist circumference of 40 inches or
greater for men and 35 or greater for women means greater risk.
High blood sugar.
This occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal when measures
while fasting (without food or drink in your system). Blood glucose higher than
100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) increases risk of heart disease.
These are blood fats that boost heart disease risk. Levels at 150 mg/dL or
higher are unhealthy.
Low HDL. This is
high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol – the higher the number, the
better. Lower than 40 mg/dL for men and lower than 50 mg/dL for women raises
heart disease risk.
High blood pressure.
Anything higher than 130/85 mm Hg (milliliters of mercury) increases heart
People with metabolic
syndrome are twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely
to have diabetes as people who don’t have these risk factors. It’s estimated
that about 47 million people in the United States have metabolic syndrome. That
means that about a quarter of the entire U.S. population is at high risk for
heart disease and diabetes.
Next time we’ll talk about how Metabolic Syndrome affects
your body and what we can do about it!