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Managing Your Risks: Metabolic Syndrome and Heart Disease

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Managing Your Risks: Metabolic Syndrome and Heart Disease

Metabolic syndrome affects about 34 percent of adults, according to the American Heart Association. Those affected by metabolic syndrome are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke.
What is metabolic syndrome?

It is a collection of three to five serious risk factors for heart disease including: excess body fat around the waist, high blood pressure, high fasting glucose and abnormal cholesterol levels. While having one of these conditions doesn’t necessarily mean you are at higher risk of heart disease and stroke, any combination of these conditions means you have metabolic syndrome.

Who is at risk?
While anyone can develop metabolic syndrome when these conditions are present, there are certain risk factors that may put you at greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Those risk factors are:

Age | As you age, your risk increases. Approximately 40 percent of people over age 60 have metabolic syndrome.

Race | People who are of Hispanic or Asian descent seem to be at greater risk of metabolic syndrome than people of other races.

Obesity | The more weight you carry, the more likely you are to develop metabolic syndrome, particularly if your extra weight is around your middle.

Diabetes | If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, or if you developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy, you may be more likely to have metabolic syndrome.

Other Risk Factors
Heart disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or polycystic ovary syndrome, also cause an increased risk of metabolic disease.

Managing Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. At least half of the U.S. population will develop heart disease during their lifetime and 35 percent of us will die of cardiovascular disease. Managing your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which puts you at serious risk of heart disease, is about identifying your risk, understanding your risk and the factors that may increase your risk and preventing your risk with lifestyle changes and medical intervention (when necessary).

“As the number one killer, we always start by evaluating cardiovascular risk based upon genetics, age, lab, exercise stress test, and appropriate imaging when needed,” said Lynn McFarlin, MD, Cooper Clinic Preventive Medicine Physician. “Prevention is critical as 33 percent of patients with heart disease suffer death as their first symptom of disease.”

“Most of our first time patients are unaware of their hidden and often genetically predisposed health risks which are allowed to develop and are nurtured by poor decision making, unhealthy coping skills, a rushed stressful life with poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle,” McFarlin explained. “I am fond of telling patients ‘the key to long life is picking the right parents,’ but remember we can't change our genetics, but we are totally in control of what we choose to do with the genetics we are given.”

At Cooper Clinic, physicians are committed to identifying risks, educating patients, motivating change, reinforcing long-term change and commitment to health lifestyle choices, McFarlin said.

After identifying risk for heart disease, Cooper Clinic physicians work to identify the risk factors that many contribute to a patient’s risk of metabolic syndrome or heart disease, including: sedentary lifestyle, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and elevated cholesterol levels. “Through lifestyle changes and appropriate medical therapies quality of life, improved health and longevity is our goal for our patients,” said McFarlin.”
 
By changing one patient’s lifestyle, we then effect change in that patient's circle of influence. “Through direct patient influence and public education, long-term societal change can alter the health of our society and that of the generations that will follow,” said McFarlin.
 
Every American should be focused on preventing serious health conditions, rather than simply treating those conditions when they arise. “As our society ages, we are seeing a shift in where our healthcare resources are being spent, but most often the resources are spent to treat the disease not prevent it,” said McFarlin. “We need to instill change early in life and maintain lifelong preventive medicine if we are to influence the health of our aging population.”

Cooper Clinic is the leading preventive health clinic with preventive practices backed by decades of research and study at The Cooper Institute. “With our resources, staff, and physician expertise we work daily to provide preventive healthcare for our patients, identifying health risks before they are allowed to develop or go ignored and result in loss of health, quality of life, or loss of life itself,” McFarlin said.

For more information about services at Cooper Clinic, call 866.906.2667 (COOP) or click here.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.