According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans havesomething called metabolic syndrome. That’s almost one out of every six people. Metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X, increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Here’s how you get it and what you can do about it.
Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndromeis characterized by a cluster of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors that increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. You have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these measurements.
Low HDL (“good cholesterol”) level: Less than 40 mg/dL (men); less than 50 mg/dL (women)
High blood pressure: 130/85 mm/Hg and higher
High fasting blood sugar: 100 mg/dL and higher
Metabolic Syndrome Health Effects
Compared to someone without metabolic syndrome, a person with metabolic syndrome is:
Twice as likely to develop heart disease.
Five times as likely to develop diabetes. If your waistline is over 40″, your risk is 12 times higher for diabetes.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a calorie-controlled diet rich in whole grains reduced cardiovascular risk factors.They studied two groups — one group ate whole grains and the other ate refined grains.
Refined grains have a high glycemic load which means they’re rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream. Examples of refined grains include: white pasta/noodles, white rice, white bread/rolls/tortillas, enriched wheat bread/bagels, and corn flakes.
Whole-Grain Diet Results
Weight loss and cholesterol levels decreased similarly in both whole-grain and refined-grain groups, BUT the whole grain group had the following results:
38% decrease in inflammation. C-reactive protein (CRP) levels decreased. CRP is an inflammatory biomarker and an emerging risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is a predictor of cardiac events in persons with and without CVD.
Significantly greater decreases in the percentage of abdominal fat.
Why Whole-Grains Reduce Inflammation
The reduction in inflammation could be due to:
Lower blood glucose concentrations throughout the day. This is the result of increased fiber in the whole grains.
The antioxidants in the whole grains which have anti-inflammatory properties.
The release of inflammatory compounds from the loss of abdominal fat. Abdominal fat (visceral fat) is highly inflammatory. Eating whole grains decreased belly fat substantially.
Another study demonstrated patients infected with periodontal bacteria had the highest levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in their blood. CRP is an inflammatory marker and independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Another study confirmed periodontal bacteria reaches the human brain suggesting an inflammatory role in Alzheimer’s disease. Additional studies link chronic inflammation with memory loss.
Pregnant women with moderate to severe periodontal disease are at greater risk of spontaneous pre-term birth.
What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Below are the key things to know about gum disease:
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is one of the most common infections in humans. Fifty percent of the American population has gum disease.
It’s a chronic inflammatory disease that inflames your gums.
It starts with bacteria (called plaque) that develops on the surface of the tooth root (gum line) and causes inflammation (bleeding gums).
You eat healthy and exercise, but you have clogged arteries or worse yet, had a heart attack. You wonder how that could possibly be. Well, here’s one of the key (and most overlooked) reasons why… STRESS.
Are You Stressed Out?
Psychological stress can emerge when you’re unable to cope or respond to real-life demands (stressors), e.g., unemployment, caregiving for the the chronically ill, family dysfunction, poverty, and/or work, marital, or financial issues. According to the American Psychological Association (APA, 2011), there are two types of stress:
Acute stress – short-term form of stress that stems from the demands and pressures of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future.
Chronic stress – long-term form of stress that derives from unending feelings of despair/hopelessness.
Coping with Stress
Coping skills are essential in stress management. How well do you manage your stress? Take this 20-minute Coping and Management Skills Testin Psychology Today and find out. Click here for the 38-question self test.
Various studies have shown that exposure to persistent stress can result in long-term or permanent changes in the way you respond:
Emotionally – e.g., increased likelihood of depression
Physiologically – e.g., decreased ability to regulate inflammatory responses due to decreased tissue sensitivity to cortisol (your primary stress hormone and regulator of inflammation)
Behaviorally – e.g., increased smoking, decreased exercise and sleep, poor medical compliance
Chronic, low-level inflammation might be the SILENT culprit behind your aging process. There is growing evidence that there’s a correlation between chronic systemic inflammation and chronic disease, such as:
Coronary atherosclerosis (plaque buildup)
Type 2 diabetes
Macular degeneration (a common form of age-related blindness)
The Silent Killer
Chronic, low-level inflammation is quite different from acute inflammation, the body’s healthy response to injury and infection. When you get a bug bite or sprained ankle and the area becomes swollen, warm, painful, and red, your body is trying to defend itself by sending immune cells and key nutrients to the area — this is an acute inflammatory response. Continue reading “Inflammation | Foods that Heal and Harm”→
When you walk or climb stairs, do you have… cramping, pain, aching, or tiredness in the muscles of your calves, thighs, buttocks, or hips? If so, you could have peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a narrowing of arteries (blockages) in your pelvis and legs.
Other symptoms can include:
Leg numbness or weakness
Cold legs or feet
Sores on lower extremities that won’t heal
Toenail color change
When PAD worsens, it’s typical to develop ‘exertional leg pain’, a symptom known as claudication. It occurs when you’re exerting yourself and feels like a muscle cramp. These symptoms usually go away after resting, but return when you walk again.
Do NOT try to “walk off the pain” or “tough it out”. Your limbs need to reoxygenate. Claudication does NOT go away if you continue to walk — it is only relieved by rest.
The pain is no different from ischemia (lack of oxygen) of your heart in that the delivery of oxygen does not meet the metabolic oxygen demand of working muscles. What makes it worse when you’re walking is your blood has to move ‘upstream’ through narrowed arteries in your lower extremities to get back to your heart for more oxygen. Continue reading “♥ Daily Dose | Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)”→