What is the Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a serious condition that can be treated or prevented by actively making changes to one’s lifestyle and overall health habits. If one already has metabolic syndrome and a change in lifestyle isn’t enough, medication may be necessary to reduce blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and blood sugar.
Recommendations for treating or preventing metabolic syndrome include:
- Weight loss - The long-range target is to lower body mass index (BMI) to less than 25. BMI measures weight in relation to height and gives an estimate of total body fat. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. A BMI of less than 25 is the goal for prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome.
- Exercise – The more physical activity one gets, the more beneficial it is to one’s health, but studies show that even small amounts of physical activity are beneficial. Staying active aids in maintaining a healthy weight as well as maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels and mood. For individuals with metabolic syndrome, at least a moderate amount of activity as opposed to light activity is most effective. Getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 to 7 days per week is recommended. Before beginning a new exercise regimen, consultation with one’s doctor is suggested.
- Healthy diet – Eating a variety of foods rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and fish (preferably oily fish), along with lowering consumption of salt (sodium), sugar and unhealthy fats is all part of living a healthy lifestyle. Alcohol consumption should be kept to a moderate level or cut out altogether as consuming large quantities of alcohol is known to adversely affect the heart and the liver. Following a healthy diet plan affects weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels.
- Stop smoking – Smoking raises the risk for heart attack and stroke. Products are available to help the process of quitting smoking. If necessary, seek the assistance of a doctor or a support group for help in quitting.
- Medication – If lifestyle habits aren’t enough, it may be necessary to take medication to control symptoms of metabolic syndrome. A physician can prescribe blood pressure medication, cholesterol lowering medication and high blood sugar medication. Working closely with one’s doctor to safely treat any or all of these symptoms can prevent the syndrome from worsening.
- Clinical Trials -Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. These studies are a key research tool for advancing medical knowledge and patient care. For individuals with metabolic syndrome who are interested in volunteering to take part in research, there are clinical trials currently under way
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