While the number of people with metabolic syndrome (MetS) is rising, the health industry focuses on genetic predispositions and the lifestyle risks of developing this debilitating condition. However, medical experts cannot affirm a definitive cause for this multi-symptom phenomenon. But they do know that genetic and lifestyle habits affect a person’s propensity for MetS.
For instance, according to an article posted on John Hopkins Medicine website, ethnicity can be a factor. African and Mexican Americans are more likely to develop MetS, with African American women being 60% more susceptible than African American men.
According to the American Heart Association people of Hispanic and South Asian ethnicity are also at a higher risk.
Aging also adds to the risk, as the ability to break down LDL diminishes. Because high cholesterol typically has no symptoms, many people go years without knowing their LDL is elevated.
Metabolic Syndrome and Genetics
While genetic testing successfully identified the mutations that cause people to be more prone to conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity, researchers at
Yale University discovered what they refer to as a founder mutation. This mutation, or abnormal gene shared in families, leads to obesity associated with the conference of MetS risk factors.
The gene, identified as Dyrk1B, controls the balance of muscle to fat ratios and assists in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. The mutated Dyrk1B gene no longer operates properly, allowing extra production of fats in the body and elevated blood glucose. The study to determine this genetic factor included family groups and presented in all family members affected by MetS. This mutation is likely responsible for adults with MetS having decreased muscle mass and increased fat buildup from a young age.
There is no solution as of yet to correct the mutated Dyrk1B gene, but risk factors induced by lifestyle habits can be modified and eliminated. The two main instigators of MetS are excess weight and inactivity. A sedentary lifestyle often leads to weight gain, even in people who eat a good diet. Metabolism is greatly affected by movement and calorie-burning activities beyond everyday activity.
People who carry most of their excess weight around their abdomen or stomach appear to have an increased chance of developing MetS. Researchers understand this link, but how it relates to MetS is unknown. A sedentary lifestyle contributes to weight gain, and excess fat cells are known to cause inflammation, another factor adding to the risk of heart disease. High cholesterol, especially LDL, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure are exasperated by obesity and lack of exercise.
Other habits that can lead to complications causing MetS are smoking, long-term exposure to stress, a history of heavy alcohol intake and a high-fat diet. Women past menopause are, at times, more prone to developing MetS associated with hormone changes.
Unfortunately, many people struggling with MetS don’t even know they have it. MetS is a system of conditions that come together to cause serious conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, and it commonly progresses for years before being detected.
What Are The Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic Syndrome has no particular symptoms, except for effects from the syndrome's cluster of health conditions. One sign, extra weight around the waist and abdomen, is easily seen but not always caused by MetS and includes a waist size larger than 40 inches in men or 35 inches for women. Below are the signs and associated health conditions that could indicate MetS. Doctors may diagnose a patient with MetS if they have three or more of the following symptoms.
Symptoms Associated with Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, also called insulin resistance, may cause many symptoms, including elevated blood sugar levels. Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition caused by an inadequacy in the body at regulating glucose in the blood. Two problems cause type 2 diabetes; the pancreas may not be producing enough insulin to allow sugar to be metabolized into the body's cells, or muscle, fat and liver cells may develop insulin resistance.
Chronic effects of high blood sugar levels may cause issues with the nervous system, a compromised immune system, and problems for the circulatory system. The results of type 2 diabetes commonly develop over the years and include:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Vision problems
- An increase in infections and slow healing
- Numbness, tingling or pain in the hands and feet
Any of these symptoms, including fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dL or higher, warrant a visit to the doctor.
Symptoms Associated with High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
A blood pressure reading of 130/85 mm/Hg or higher could be associated with metabolic syndrome and requires a doctor's evaluation to find the cause. The standard for normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg at rest. Blood pressure levels may change during the day based on activity, exercise, or stress, but blood pressure that consistently remains above normal is typically diagnosed as high blood pressure. Some doctors adhere to differing guidelines for high blood pressure, as reported by the CDC.
Most people with high blood pressure don't experience any symptoms until they suffer from heart disease or a stroke, giving high blood pressure the moniker, the silent killer. Occasionally, in the case of dangerously high levels, some people may experience a headache, shortness of breath or a nosebleed, indicating they require immediate medical care.
Additional Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms
High cholesterol is diagnosed when blood work for total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL is done and does not typically have associated symptoms unless it leads to heart disease. Heart disease symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath or leg pain when walking. Always contact your doctor if these symptoms are present.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends cholesterol testing on the following schedule:
- Age 19 and younger beginning at age nine to ten, every five years
- Age 20 to 65, every five years
- Over 65, every year
A family history of high cholesterol may warrant more frequent testing. High cholesterol prescription medications may be an option your physician offers to treat elevated cholesterol. Other ways to help lower cholesterol are dietary changes and natural supplements.
Acai Seed in the Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome
Acai is a palm tree native to South America that produces dark purple berries found to have medicinal properties. The berry and its seeds contain powerful antioxidants shown to protect cells from damage due to disease and inflammation. These antioxidants are touted as being able to reduce systemic swelling, lower blood sugar levels and boost the immune system.
Through a team of scientists and physicians, a Brazilian Laboratory discovered a way to harvest the potent polyphenols found in acai seed. Polyphenols are an antioxidant that protects the body's tissues from damage-causing diseases, including MetS. Polyphenols are natural plant-based compounds found in acai seeds.
Power Seed Acai Supplement contains the extract of acai seeds, which have 50 times more polyphenols than the pulp or the juice. Scientific evidence and clinical trials show that acai seed is a significant force in preventing and reducing metabolic syndrome.