With obesity rates continuing to rise to epidemic levels, the fattening of America goes hand in hand with a cluster of health problems generally referred to as “metabolic syndrome,” including high blood pressure and high levels of the blood fats, triglyceride and/or cholesterol. Insulin resistance, where the action of insulin in the body is impaired and fails to control blood sugar levels, also complicates the picture. When these things happen all at the same time, as is generally the case, their collective impact is to raise Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease risks simultaneously. Increasingly referred to in medical circles as the “cardiometabolic syndrome,” people with even one of its components may be at increased risk for others. Knowing what to watch for can make the difference between having, or preventing, full-blown disease; so early detection of risk factors and proactive preventive measures can help individuals lead a active, healthy and happy life.
There are 10 simple lifestyle changes that I wish to outline below, which can lower the overall risk of getting a heart disease. This information is not very new to us and we talk about the importance of all these facts in our everyday lives, but the question is how many of us consider these seriously.
More than a century and billions of dollars in medical research, hundreds and thousands of clinical trials- all have come to realize how important it is to:
1. Lose weight (especially some extra pounds accumulated in our abdomen)
2. Increase physical activity to at least 30- 60 minutes a day
3. Eat a healthy diet that includes more of whole grains, fiber, fruits and vegetables, lean meats, eggs, fish, beans and nuts
4. Quit smoking
5. Reduce stress levels
6. Manage dyslipidemia; maintain normal levels of cholesterol (both LDL-C and HDL-C) and triglycerides
7. Control hypertension
8. Limit alcohol consumption
9. Check for inflammation
10. Keep your hormones in balance
We keep asking for new tools for our physicians to formulate a magic pill, but let us stop and rethink how we can help our physicians formulate optimal treatment strategies for effective management of any or all risk conditions by considering the ten simple changes listed above.