Metabolic Syndrome (also known as syndrome "x")
is a term that was first used by Gerald Reaven, M.D., a researcher
at Stanford University, to describe a cluster of interrelated symptoms
that seemed to appear in individuals and increase their risk of
cardiovascular disease. The syndrome is characterized by the following:
high serum triglycerides, high cholesterol, decreased HDL cholesterol,
increased serum insulin, high blood pressure, and glucose intolerance.
The underlying factor in Metabolic syndrome elevated insulin levels
and insulin resistance. All other factors are secondary to this.
Insulin resistance occurs when the insulin released from the pancreas
is no longer able to “unlock” the door that allows the
glucose to move into the cell. It is caused by the over-consumption
of refined carbohydrates, sugars and trans fatty acids in the form
of hydrogenated oil. Under normal circumstances the body is able
to break down carbohydrates into glucose, release adequate amounts
of insulin and up-take the glucose into the cell where it is converted
into ATP. Metabolic Syndrome starts when the body can no longer
handle the over-consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugars
day in and day out that causes the insulin levels in the blood to
remain high and the cells to become less and less responsive and
more and more resistant to insulin’s effect. The net effect
is that glucose levels remain high, which increases the likelihood
of protein glycosylation and oxidative stress from free radical
production, both of which have been linked with aging and the development
of chronic degenerative diseases. Excessive insulin or hyperinsulinemia
is a risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis, type II
diabetes, obesity, some forms of dementia, and other diseases.
The insulin resistance that occurs sets the stage for the development
of more serious metabolic issues. Blood triglycerides cholesterol
and glucose levels begin to rise, the HDL levels begin to drop and
the patient begins to put on weight and their blood pressure begins
metabolic syndrome, along with hypoglycemia, increased insulin
secretion, and type II diabetes are all progressions of the same
problem. The over-consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugars,
and hydrogenated oils causes insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance takes many years to become severe. As alternative
physicians we can play an essential role in preventing this cascade
from occurring by paying attention to some of the early warning
signs: slowly increasing blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride
levels, decreasing HDL levels and by monitoring blood pressure.
It is essential to reduce your patient’s intake of refined
carbohydrates, sugars, trans fatty acids and other harmful compounds.
By doing this with your patients in their 30s or 40s, you can reverse
insulin resistance and prevent diabetes and coronary heart disease.
© 2004 Dicken Weatherby, ND