Too many cigarettes, too much food, not enough movement. What the body normally graciously forgives in its young years starts to become a problem starting at a certain age. Nearly half of all adults who suffer under a “derailment of the metabolism” are over 60 years of age. Medical specialists have a term for this: the metabolic syndrome.
You do not feel anything at first, it does not cause any pain and initially has no influence on your quality of life. But exactly that is the dangerous thing about it, because if there is a “derailment” of the metabolism in multiple areas, this may lead to a serious disease. Obesity, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia (too much “bad cholesterol”) and an elevated blood sugar level are the most frequent problems that lead to a metabolic syndrome when they occur at the same time.
Many of the mentioned unfavourable “values” could actually be easily counteracted: with more movement, no smoking, less fat and balance nourishment. However, that only sounds good in theory, because – let’s be honest – what meat fan would freely give up fresh, juicy roast pork just because the cholesterol value is a little out whack? What smoker would give up their obligatory coffee cigarette even though they know that smoking narrows the vessels? And who, if they are not used to it, would say no to a culinary barbecue just because their running shoes are waiting to hit the trails?
Maybe all of that worked well during younger years – the few off-types in the laboratory findings – we will be able to iron that out again. But with increasing age, it is no longer as easy to give up prized habits and to get used to a healthy lifestyle. The statistics speak for themselves, because the older “experienced” target group actually has the highest risk of developing a metabolic syndrome and therefore the risk of shortening their lifetime by a few valuable years due to a cardiovascular disease.
You do not have to worry now and go through your last laboratory findings – your doctor maybe already told you, “Dear Mr./Mrs. X, your blood pressure is clearly above the normal value, please take care of yourself a little – while eating and you should move around a little more – that helps.” Our doctors are looking out for us, but in the end we are responsible for our health or disease. But what does your doctor mean when they warn you of a “metabolic syndrome”? The four greatest risk factors described in medicine are 1. obesity, 2. high blood pressure, 3. impaired fat metabolism and 4. elevated blood sugar level. If all of these factors occur at the same time, this is considered a metabolic syndrome, therefore a “derailment” of the normal metabolism.
If you hear this diagnosis from your doctor for the first time, you still have all the cards in your favour. In a medical aspect, you suffer from a metabolic syndrome if you are a man and have a waist size of more than 94 to 102 cm, for women this is between 80 to 88 cm – and if at least two of the following criteria are also present:
• low HDL cholesterol (men under 40 mg/dl, women under 50 mg/dl)
• increased triglyceride values (over 150 mg/dl)
• high blood pressure (over 130/85 mmHg)
• Increased sober blood sugar (over 100 mg/dl)
Additionally, increased uric acid values may be evidence of a metabolic syndrome. Of course you do not feel anything if your cholesterol value is elevated – but please believe your doctor, their goal is not only to make people healthy again, but rather also to instruct them to stay healthy. If you believe all of this is just “medical nonsense”, you are taking a big gamble, because a metabolic syndrome may lead to other diseases, such as vascular calcification, cardiovascular system diseases, stroke, heart attack. Not a good scenario considering that you can prevent it. However, you do not need to just want it, you have to do it as well. All of this begins with healthy, balanced nourishment with a limit on sugar and animal fat consumption, continued with quitting smoking and alcohol and is complemented with an appropriate movement program.
Less fat, less sugar, no alcohol – enough movement. That is the short formula for avoiding or counteracting a metabolic syndrome. Thus, pay special attention to balanced nourishment. One with too much energy will inevitably have an effect on the body weight. It is best to change to low-fat food, whereby the percentage of fat in the nourishment may not be more than 30%. Up to 20% of the daily nourishment in turn should consist of protein; carbohydrates may also be on your menu with a portion of at least 50 %. However, pay attention to high-quality foods, like wholemeal bread, grains (carbohydrates), high-quality unsaturated fatty acids (olive, seed, nut oils, etc.) and valuable protein (e.g. low-fat dairy products, pulses, lean meat). In order to keep the vitamins and minerals in balance, it is ideal to eat vegetables and/or fruit 5 times a day.
If this change to a healthy lifestyle can no longer be done through “your own power”, the doctor will prescribe medications, like a lipid reducer, in order to correct the fat metabolism or statins to lower blood pressure. Obese people who think that they can take medication twice a day and then will be healed are stuck at a dead end – because it is very difficult to lose weight without movement. That is why you should take 30 minutes every day for sports and fitness. You do not have to chasten yourself, run a marathon or hang on a climbing wall for days. Light endurance sports (walking, cycling, hiking) are great for the body and soul and increase energy consumption.
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