Metabolic syndrome, also called “syndrome X” or “abdominal syndrome”, is much more than an aesthetic consideration† Too large a waist circumference, which is accompanied by abnormalities in blood sugar and lipid levels or high blood pressure, increases the risk of developing various pathologies. The point with Pr Boris Hansel, diabetologist and nutritionist, member of the “diabetology, endocrinology and nutrition” department of the hospital Bichat – Claude-Bernard (Paris) and co-founder of the university youtube channel PUMS* †For better health).
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is not considered a disease. †It is an intolerance to visceral fat (excess fat in the abdomen), which can lead to some metabolic diseaseslikely to evolve into more or less serious pathologies,” explains the specialist.
What symptoms should warn?
The metabolic syndrome is often asymptomatic: the does not cause specific symptoms† And if it does, it has already progressed to a more serious health problem, such as type 2 diabetes or a vascular disease. Only a blood test, measurement of waist circumference and measurement of blood pressure can make a formal diagnosis.
“Patients often present with abdominal overload, but this is not necessarily the first warning sign. You can have metabolic syndrome without being overweightand vice versa, one can be significantly overweight and in very good health,” notes Professor Hansel.
“Abdominal syndrome”: how to diagnose it?
The diagnostic criteria characteristic of the metabolic syndrome are:
- a abdominal obesity (a waist circumference greater than 94 cm in men and 80 cm in women);
- too much sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia†
- excess triglycerides in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia†
- a high bloodpressure
- and or low levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).
For the diagnosis of a metabolic syndrome, it is sufficient that the doctor detects the presence of at least three of these abnormalities, says the diabetologist.
Who are the people at risk?
People most at risk for developing metabolic syndrome are:
- people with a family history of type 2 diabetes;
- women who have had gestational diabetes (gestational diabetes);
- people of Hispanic, African American, Native American, or Asian descent.
Watch out for this “tummy tuck” syndrome affects both men and women. “We’re just seeing a shift with age. Women are ‘protected’ by their hormonal cycles until menopause. The incidence is similar in men and women over 50.”
What Are the Risks of Metabolic Syndrome?
When in doubt, the metabolic syndrome must be detected and taken seriously, this can have serious consequences:
Good to know: belly fat is one of the main causes of the body becomes less sensitive to insulin, the hormone that allows cells to use sugar (glucose). This reduced sensitivity is responsible for an excess of sugars and lipids in the blood. Hence the increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Metabolic syndrome also generally increases the risk of cancer, Professor Hansel emphasizes.
What is called “cardiometabolic risk”?
The cardiometabolic risk is: the more or less long-term risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, etc.) and/or diabetes. It is all the higher if a person is affected by various constituent abnormalities of the metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome: what are the causes?
Genetic predisposition partly explain the occurrence of this syndrome, but the vast majority of cases are rather related to: a sedentary lifestyle and to a high-calorie, low-nutrient diet†
Which doctor to consult?
†Metabolic syndrome is a warning sign† It can be detected and managed by any doctor and does not necessarily warrant a visit to a specialist. a general practitioner can detect abnormalities, set up a preventive strategy and possibly refer the patient to specialists, doctors or paramedics, depending on the impact of the syndrome,” replies Professor Boris Hansel.
Some preventive measures can prevent the onset of metabolic syndrome:
- go regularlyhealth checks †
- avoiding tobacco and alcohol use †
- the practice of a regular and adapted sports activity †
- the respect of a healthy and balanced diet (a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, and low-fat dairy products).
Metabolic syndrome is not a fatal outcome, as it stems largely from an eating disorder and insufficient exercise. The essence of the treatment actually lies in changing your lifestyle.
Most of the work consists of questioning one’s diet and reducing the consumption of sugar, fat (fatty meats, meat, cheese) and sugary drinks. Simple questions to ask yourself: do you eat even when you are not hungry? Do you snack between meals? Do you skip meals? Do you get up at night to eat? It is then up to you to take the necessary measures to adjust and change your eating habits.
Second goal: get your body moving again. Not a question of becoming a marathon runner! The minimum required physical activity is: 30 minutes of brisk walking a day. An easy tip to apply: move at every opportunity: rather go to the elevator, walk to the car or the bus… Also practice a sporting activity, ideally 45 minutes three times a week, preferring outdoor sports . such as running, rowing, swimming or cycling, while respecting the limits of the effort.
†The treatment of the metabolic syndrome is of a hygienic and dietetic nature only.Professor Hansel insists. And to clarify, “no drug has a marketing authorization (MA) specifically issued for the treatment of the metabolic syndrome.” Some may be useful for the treatment of abnormalities or diseases associated with the metabolic syndrome, such as antidiabetics and antihypertensive drugs† “But these treatments will never replace the lifestyle changes that are the mainstay of treatment.”