For a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, a child must have at least three of the four risk factors. The most common risk factors in teens are hypertension and abnormal cholesterol. Even when just one risk factor is present, a doctor will likely check for the others. This is especially true if a child is overweight, has a family member with type 2 diabetes, or has acanthosis nigricans.
Home blood sugar (glucose) testing is an important part of controlling blood sugar. One important goal of diabetes treatment is to keep the blood glucose levels near the normal range of 70 to 120 mg/dl before meals and under 140 mg/dl at two hours after eating. Blood glucose levels are usually tested before and after meals, and at bedtime. The blood sugar level is typically determined by pricking a fingertip with a lancing device and applying the blood to a glucose meter, which reads the value. There are many meters on the market, for example, Accu-Check Advantage, One Touch Ultra, Sure Step and Freestyle. Each meter has its own advantages and disadvantages (some use less blood, some have a larger digital readout, some take a shorter time to give you results, etc.). The test results are then used to help patients make adjustments in medications, diets, and physical activities.
As waistlines expand, so does the epidemic of metabolic syndrome. It’s estimated that nearly one of every four American adults has this condition(1). If you’re one of them, it puts you on the track to developing type 2 diabetes and triples your risk for heart disease down the road. The identification of metabolic syndrome two decades ago(2) is now recognized as a turning point in our understanding of how metabolism can go awry, resulting in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Metformin is generally recommended as a first line treatment for type 2 diabetes, as there is good evidence that it decreases mortality. It works by decreasing the liver's production of glucose. Several other groups of drugs, mostly given by mouth, may also decrease blood sugar in type II DM. These include agents that increase insulin release, agents that decrease absorption of sugar from the intestines, and agents that make the body more sensitive to insulin. When insulin is used in type 2 diabetes, a long-acting formulation is usually added initially, while continuing oral medications. Doses of insulin are then increased to effect.
As evident from the above, younger individuals may present with hypertension associated with an elevated cardiac output (high-output hypertension). High-output hypertension results from volume and sodium retention by the kidney, leading to increased stroke volume and, often, with cardiac stimulation by adrenergic hyperactivity. Systemic vascular resistance is generally not increased at such earlier stages of hypertension. As hypertension is sustained, however, vascular adaptations including remodeling, vasoconstriction, and vascular rarefaction occur, leading to increased systemic vascular resistance. In this situation, cardiac output is generally normal or slightly reduced, and circulating blood volume is normal.
Another common endocrine cause is oral contraceptive use. Activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is the likely mechanism, because hepatic synthesis of angiotensinogen is induced by the estrogen component of oral contraceptives. Approximately 5% of women taking oral contraceptives may develop hypertension, which abates within 6 months after discontinuation. The risk factors for oral contraceptive–associated hypertension include mild renal disease, familial history of essential hypertension, age older than 35 years, and obesity. It would be better to group oral contraceptives and steroids with drug-induced hypertension (see Table 1, below).
Hypertension with certain specific additional signs and symptoms may suggest secondary hypertension, i.e. hypertension due to an identifiable cause. For example, Cushing's syndrome frequently causes truncal obesity, glucose intolerance, moon face, a hump of fat behind the neck/shoulder (referred to as a buffalo hump), and purple abdominal stretch marks. Hyperthyroidism frequently causes weight loss with increased appetite, fast heart rate, bulging eyes, and tremor. Renal artery stenosis (RAS) may be associated with a localized abdominal bruit to the left or right of the midline (unilateral RAS), or in both locations (bilateral RAS). Coarctation of the aorta frequently causes a decreased blood pressure in the lower extremities relative to the arms, or delayed or absent femoral arterial pulses. Pheochromocytoma may cause abrupt ("paroxysmal") episodes of hypertension accompanied by headache, palpitations, pale appearance, and excessive sweating.
The AHA/ASA recommends a diet that is low in sodium, is high in potassium, and promotes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products for reducing BP and lowering the risk of stroke. Other recommendations include increasing physical activity (30 minutes or more of moderate intensity activity on a daily basis) and losing weight (for overweight and obese persons).