Metabolic Syndrome: What You Need to Know

Metabolic Syndrome is very common in the United States — up to one-third of adults have it. It's a very serious health condition that can be prevented and improved by significant lifestyle changes, however, many of us don't know what it is.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is a group of conditions that occur together, raising the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health problems. Most disorders associated with Metabolic Syndrome do not have obvious symptoms or signs; those typically diagnosed are often:

— People with central obesity (when there is increased fat in the abdomen and waist region)
— People with diabetes or a strong family history of diabetes
— People with other clinical features of insulin resistance, including "darkened skin" on the back of the neck or underarms, or skin tags (which are usually found on the neck)
— Certain ethnic backgrounds have a higher risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome. Hispanics have the highest rate, then caucasians, and African Americans.

As you age, the risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome increases. It's often caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors, like diet, activity levels, and even poor sleep patterns (including sleep apnea).

Risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome

You are diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome if you have three or more of the following risk factors:

— A waistline of 40 inches or more for men, and 35 inches or more for women 
— A blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or higher*
— A triglyceride level above 150 mg/dl*
— A fasting blood glucose (sugar) level greater than 100 mg/dl*
— Low HDL cholesterol less than 40 mg/dl (men), or under 50 mg/dl (women)*

*If your numbers are in a healthy range due to prescription medications, it's still considered a risk factor for Metabolic Syndrome.

If you already know you have at least one of these disorders, it's worth speaking to your doctor — you might have other symptoms and not even know it. Having one of these disorders doesn't necessarily mean you have Metabolic Syndrome, but if you check for these signs early on, you can help prevent serious diseases.

How to improve symptoms and prevent Metabolic Syndrome

Luckily, Metabolic Syndrome can be improved and prevented by adopting a healthier, active lifestyle. You can reduce your risk by:

Exercising: There are many health benefits of exercising daily. Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day can improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, promote weight loss, and reduce the risk of diabetes. Even taking a brisk, 30-minute walk each day can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Adopting a healthy diet: A nutrient-rich diet can lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Consume fruits and vegetables, whole grains (brown rice, not white), lean proteins (beans, peas, and lentils), fish (without the skin), and healthy fats (like avocados, olive oil, and flaxseed) for a healthier, well-rounded diet. Limiting salt and saturated fats can also help prevent Metabolic Syndrome.

Not smoking: Quitting smoking is critical when it comes to cardiovascular disease. Quitting can improve high cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, and help prevent Metabolic Syndrome.

Services we offer to assist with Metabolic Syndrome

Health is our number one priority at OnSite Wellness. We have a variety of wellness services that can help prevent and assist with Metabolic Syndrome:

Biometric screenings: We offer in-depth, personalized health analyses with our biometric screenings. These fast, easy-to-understand, and informative screenings are a valuable check-in for all employees. In under 15 minutes, you can get your screening results and learn if you have risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome. We'll then create a customized program for the company and those that have at least three out of the five risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome.

We are also one of the few companies that offer paperless HIPAA-compliant screenings that show year-after-year results and changes.  This leads to successful coaching conversations with participants following each screening.

Our screenings include:

      — Body Mass Index, waist circumference, and blood pressure
      — Fasting lipid panel and glucose screening via finger prick (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and cholesterol ratio; blood glucose)
      — Immediate face-to-face coaching to review and explain screening results
      — Follow-up protocol from a health professional for all-high risk participants
      — Dedicated event coordinator for every screening event
      — Educational materials and screening results are confidentially provided at events
      — Biometric aggregate reporting for your company's health-risk analysis
      — Optional tracking options are available, including Nicotine Usage Verification, EEOC Spouse Notification, and more!

Education: We offer a wide range of classes on nutrition, exercise, stress, disease management and Metabolic Syndrome.  Employees also have access to education videos through our online university section if their company uses our portal.

— Coaching: OnSite offers lifestyle coaching, high-risk coaching based on biometric screening results or physician forms collected, and tobacco cessation coaching. Within a series of three coaching calls we explore what might cause numbers to be out of range and work with the individual to determine ways to improve those numbers in a healthy way.

Start today by taking steps today to improve your health and overall well-being and preventing Metabolic Syndrome. By making your health a priority, you'll be able to feel better, stay active, and live a longer, healthier life. Let us help you take that first step forward to create your best, healthiest lifestyle for both you and your employees. 

At OnSite Wellness, employee health and wellness is our specialty. Incorporating an employee wellness program at your workplace can have massive benefits for your employees in tracking and managing a healthy lifestyle. Let us help you reach your goals and set your employees up for success! Contact us today to get started.