Our sedentary lifestyle coupled with unhealthy eating habits can play havoc with our health and increase our chances of getting several deadly diseases. According to recent health studies, Coronavirus-induced lockdowns are making us more physically inactive than before thus putting us at the risk of various health conditions, metabolic syndrome being one of them. Metabolic syndrome is basically associated with a cluster of conditions like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels. The syndrome with its multiple risk factors can further increases the chances of heart attack and stroke, and severity in case of Covid-19 infection.
Dr. Brij Mohan, MD, FICP, FIACM, Fellow Diabetes India talks about what exactly is Metabolic Syndrome, how it can affect Covid-19 patients and also tips to avoid getting it in the first place.
What Is Metabolic Syndrome And What Causes It
In our fast-moving modern lifestyle, many of us rely heavily on packaged food. Processed and highly refined sugars in the food items we consume can cause fatty liver, leptin resistance and excessive abdominal and visceral fat storage. It may lead us into a habit of consuming more and shedding less, thus disturbing our metabolism. This means that the brain is tricked into thinking it is hungry causing one to eat more and exercise less.
An unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle can result in metabolic syndrome, which is most easily identified by a more rounded abdominal circumference and higher than normal blood sugar. There is a possibility of it advancing to Type 2 diabetes, blood pressure being higher than normal and abnormal lipids profile.
Let's See How Metabolic Syndrome Kicks Off In Our Body
- - Metabolic syndrome is a collection of multiple factors beginning with building insulin resistance.
- - When the body breaks down all food to sugars, insulin carries the energy in the form of glucose to other cells in the body.
- - The cells begin to build a wall against it.
- - When the cells do that it slows you down and the pancreas decides to pump more insulin (hyperinsulinaemia) in an effort to bring those walls down.
- - But with passage of time it results in high blood sugar.
At What Stage Metabolic Syndrome Turns Problematic
There is a risk of heart complications as patients suffering from metabolic syndrome are likely to develop a deposit of plaque on the kidneys and in the arteries, which hardens over time, blocking blood supply to and from the heart, increasing blood pressure.
Also, the fat that gathers on the belly, is not inactive and pumps hormones (adipocytokines) that increase blood cholesterol, slows down metabolism and causes low grade inflammation throughout the body which is observed in most patients.
How Metabolic Syndrome Can Be Deadly For Covid-19 Patients
According to a new research that appeared in journal Diabetes Care, people with metabolic syndrome are more likely to have worse COVID-19 outcomes including requiring ventilation and death.
"Metabolic syndrome stems from abdominal obesity. The fat in the abdomen causes metabolic syndrome, it is this fat responsible for releasing certain chemicals, which are known as adipose cytokines and they are also responsible for severity of Covid. It has been proven that patients of metabolic syndrome are at a higher risk of developing Covid," confirms Dr Mohan.
Dr Mohan also recommends ways to avoid getting metabolic syndrome by making a couple of changes in lifestyle and eating habits.
What Can Be Done To Avoid Metabolic Syndrome
A conscious changes in dietary habits and increased physical activity can decrease your chances of getting the disease
- - Incorporate at least 30 minutes of regular exercise in your routine. Start with the easiest thing you can do like taking a walk and slowly level up to more vigorous exercises, shaking off the lethargy that comes with the disease.
- - Smoking and tobacco chewing can aggravate this condition, finding other habits that are less incremental on your health may help in the long run. Not just for metabolic syndrome but an all-round health benefit.
- - Make healthier dietary choices in terms of both food and your liquid intake. Most processed sugars are consumed in the form of soft drinks and can bring a host of problems along with metabolic syndrome.
- - Switch to a sugar-free electrolyte drink for your hydration and energy needs, to fight off the metabolic syndrome. This will not just reactivate your body from the inside, but also help you get back in shape effectively.
- - As we all know the ongoing Covid pandemic has made it absolutely important to place our health above all else and focus on making fitness and immunity a priority. Adopting healthy habits and following healthy practices is a matter of discipline. Don't skip on great nutrition, hydration, rest and exercise.
The risk of getting metabolic syndrome can be avoided by understanding the underlying causes of the disease including obesity, insulin resistance, physical inactivity, genetic factors and increasing age. Making permanent lifestyle changes and modifying diet can help you lead a long and healthy life.
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