Care First Medical Center


3307 Broadway St., Suite 140

Mount Vernon, IL 62864

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By carefirstm72005544, Jan 9 2017 11:37PM

Metabolic Syndrome & Obesity

Causes and Prevention Tips

(Compiled from the material written by Dr. James Wilson)

Metabolic (met-ah-BOL-ik) syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems such as diabetes and stroke. The term “metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning. Risk factors are traits, conditions or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease.

With obesity on the rise, it is estimated that around 30% of the U.S. population has metabolic syndrome. This syndrome occurs when three of the following conditions are experienced concurrently:

• High blood pressure

• High fasting glucose

• High levels of serum triglycerides (bad cholesterol)

• Low HDL (the good cholesterol) levels

• Weight gain in the stomach or abdominal area

Causes of Metabolic Syndrome

In addition to aging and genetic predisposition, many factors, such as daily consumption of foods high in sugar and fat combined with lack of exercise, can contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome.

Stress, Cortisol and Insulin Resistance

Modern Stress

Every stress you experience, whether it’s a sleepless night or an overdue bill, triggers a chain reaction that prepares you to physically respond to the stressor. Without physical action in response to stress, it can disrupt metabolic balance over time, as well as lower stress tolerance.

Cortisol is hormone secreted by adrenals in response to stress.

Cortisol and insulin work together to increase energy; when cortisol goes up (as it does during stress), blood sugar goes up; and when blood sugar goes up, insulin does too. However, when insulin is high too often or for too long, the cells develop insulin resistance. This means they become less sensitive to the effects of insulin in order to protect themselves from the harmful effects of too much glucose. This leads to hunger and craving for carbohydrates.

Weight gain and insulin resistance

Compared to other fat cells, deep abdominal fat cells have greater blood flow, more cortisol receptors and higher levels of an enzyme that increase cortisol’s fat-storing activity within these cells. In addition, rising insulin inhibits fat burning hormones, like growth hormone, and signals the body not to release any stored.

Metabolic Syndrome Prevention and Support Tips

The three keys to managing metabolic balance are: maintaining a healthy weight; managing stress; and exercising regularly.

Dietary Guidelines for Weight Management

Healthy Foods:

• Low carb (low glycemic), unrefined foods

• Oils high in Omega 3

• White meat, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds

• Plenty of vegetables (5-6 servings a day)

• High potassium foods (most seeds, vegetables and fruit)

Foods to Avoid:

• Caffeine (stimulates cortisol)

• Sugar and refined carbs (stimulates insulin)

• Partially hydrogenated oils (disrupts healthy fat metabolism)

• Reduce calories, fat and sodium

Lifestyle Tips for Stress Management

• Eliminate as many sources of stress as you can

• Limit contact with energy robbers (people, environments and activities that leave you feeling drained)

• See the stressors you can’t get rid of in a more positive light

• Laugh more

• Make time to just relax (even if it’s only for 10 minutes a day)

• Practice some simple breathing and meditation techniques daily

• Don’t do anything else while eating (no TV, work, or texting)

• Prioritize

• Learn to say no

• Exercise for Weight & Stress Management

Exercise for Weight & Stress Management

Exercising 30-40 minutes a day helps normalize cortisol, insulin and blood sugar, and reduces belly fat. Combine the following:

Aerobic (vigorous walking, jogging, swimming, dancing)

Anaerobic (weights, isotonic, Pilates)

Flexibility (yoga, stretching, tai chi)

Veena Gupta MD

Diplomate of American Academy of Family Physician


Medical Director

Care First Medical Center

Physician Rural Health Clinic

3307 Broadway

Mount Vernon

Illinois 62864

Phone 618 2447200

Fax 618 2447274


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