Leading a healthy lifestyle now can reduce your risk of developing the health risks associated with metabolic syndrome as you get older. Effective prevention includes eating a healthy diet by following Canada's Food Guide and exercising for 150 minutes every week. Seeing your doctor for routine check ups and checking your blood glucose levels, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and weight will help you monitor your health.
Most doctors do not make a final diagnosis of high blood pressure until they measure your blood pressure several times (at least 2 blood pressure readings on 3 different days). Some doctors ask their patients to wear a portable machine that measures their blood pressure over the course of several days. This machine may help the doctor find out whether a patient has true high blood pressure or what is known as “white-coat hypertension.” White-coat hypertension is a condition in which a patient’s blood pressure rises during a visit to a doctor when anxiety and stress probably play a role.
The progression of nephropathy in patients can be significantly slowed by controlling high blood pressure, and by aggressively treating high blood sugar levels. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) used in treating high blood pressure may also benefit kidney disease in patients with diabetes.
How to treat metabolic syndrome is controversial. Because there are several potential markers, the public health community has struggled with the decision of how best to define, diagnose and treat it. Nutritional approaches have generally been downplayed in favor of multiple medications that target the individual markers. Conventional recommendations tend to emphasize caloric restriction and reduced fat intake, even though metabolic syndrome can best be described as carbohydrate intolerance. The most effective treatment for metabolic syndrome is to control the intake of carbs, not fat. In fact, restricting dietary fat and replacing it with carbohydrate actually makes many of the problems of metabolic syndrome worse. The metabolic syndrome paradigm has therefore caused a great deal of distress—and pushback—among those advocating low-fat diets. For more on how to prevent metabolic syndrome, see How to Reduce Your Risk for Metabolic Syndrome.
The relationship between type 2 diabetes and the main modifiable risk factors (excess weight, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use) is similar in all regions of the world. There is growing evidence that the underlying determinants of diabetes are a reflection of the major forces driving social, economic and cultural change: globalization, urbanization, population aging, and the general health policy environment.
If the amount of insulin available is insufficient, or if cells respond poorly to the effects of insulin (insulin insensitivity or insulin resistance), or if the insulin itself is defective, then glucose will not be absorbed properly by the body cells that require it, and it will not be stored appropriately in the liver and muscles. The net effect is persistently high levels of blood glucose, poor protein synthesis, and other metabolic derangements, such as acidosis.
Because the population of the U.S. is aging, and because metabolic syndrome is more likely the older you are, the American Heart Association (AHA) has estimated that metabolic syndrome soon will become the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease, ahead of cigarette smoking. Experts also think that increasing rates of obesity are related to the increasing rates of metabolic syndrome.
Cataracts and glaucoma are also more common among diabetics. It is also important to note that since the lens of the eye lets water through, if blood sugar concentrations vary a lot, the lens of the eye will shrink and swell with fluid accordingly. As a result, blurry vision is very common in poorly controlled diabetes. Patients are usually discouraged from getting a new eyeglass prescription until their blood sugar is controlled. This allows for a more accurate assessment of what kind of glasses prescription is required.