Apr

3

Metabolic syndrome, (obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia AKA diabetes), remains a concern in regards to increasing health risk within the United States population.  For the first time in recorded history, our current generation is projected to have a shorter life expectancy than the prior generation.  This is a projection from the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005 based on the current epidemic.  And things have only gotten worse since then.  Metabolic syndrome with its associated cardiovascular disease, stroke, blindness, amputations, etc., accounts for the majority of healthcare dollars currently being spent.  Still worse, current medical treatments focus only on symptoms, which actually make the syndrome worse.  Hyperinsulinemia causes the pancreas to secrete increased amounts of insulin in response to elevated blood glucose.  However, practitioners typically focus on glucose levels or hemoglobin A1c, and prescribe drugs which actually increase insulin levels even further.  In a typical case, a patient would present with obesity, hypertension, diabetes and elevated blood lipids.  The patient would be told to lose weight by eating more fruits and vegetables and to cut down on fats and cholesterol and to do some light exercise as a standard first-line therapy of lifestyle changes.  This certainly stands the test of reason.  The problem is that under this regimen, the syndrome actually worsens.  Eventually antihypertensive medication is prescribed as are drugs for diabetes.  Soon the patient finds themselves on 6 or more drugs with no improvement in their status.  The underlying problem is that nothing has been done to address their insulin resistance.  A more appropriate course of treatment in this scenario would be the use of a muscle sparing protein diet and more importantly carbohydrate restriction, consisting mainly of fiber and vegetables, keeping in mind that all carbohydrate, with the exception of fiber, will eventually be turned into blood glucose either quickly or slowly.  By restricted carbohydrate intake, insulin secretion can be reduced and thus reducing insulin sensitivity/resistance.  In doing this, weight loss can occur and the patient’s syndrome can actually reverse.  If you suffer from any of the symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome, you should consult with myself and/or your family physician before undertaking any therapeutic regimen as in extreme cases drug therapies may be appropriate to reduce risk of stroke and/or other consequential risks.

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