Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome (which is sometimes known as pre-diabetes) is a metabolic disorder in which the cells of your body are less sensitive to the hormone insulin (or to put it another way, Insulin Resistance.) It is estimated that RIGHT NOW one out of every three people in The United States has it. By 2020, it is estimated to increase to ONE OUT OF TWO1.

Insulin is an important hormone that signals the cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood. When cells become resistant to insulin, they require higher levels of insulin to do the same job. The pancreas can make up for this by making extra insulin. The higher insulin levels circulating in the blood do keep glucose levels normal, but eventually only make the problem worse. The elevations in insulin produce increased hunger, and increased food intake2. Increasing appetite results in weight gain which further increases insulin resistance. A positive feedback loop becomes established, until finally the pancreas can no longer sustain high circulating insulin levels. As insulin levels decrease to “normal,” glucose levels rise high enough to result in diabetes.

Insulin Resistance is linked to inflammation. Substances known as cytokines are chemical compounds produced by adipose tissue (fat cells), liver cells, and to a lesser extent skeletal muscle tissue. While we don''t know exactly how the process gets started, we do know that the cytokines interfere with the normal function of insulin, which increases inflammation, which produces more cytokines3. It is suspected that the chronic inflammation of the lining of the arteries in the heart and in the neck can lead to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes by activation of cells known as macrophages. The chronic inflammation may also lead to liver abnormalities and cancer.

Metabolic Syndrome can be treated. We have tools that can stop it in it''s tracks and stop the progression to Diabetes. There is however one important side effect you may want to know. The treatment may result in a loss of weight!

1.Ford ES, Giles WH, Mokdad AH. Increasing prevalence of the metabolic

syndrome among U.S. adults. Diabetes Care. Oct 2004;27(10):2444-9.

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