Metabolic Syndrome – Reducing Your Risk Factors
Many people have cut their risk by learning to make healthier lifestyle choices. So can you!
Reduce your weight, if it's a problem. Obesity alone does not cause metabolic syndrome, but it does greatly increase your chances of developing other risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And if you do have other risk factors, being overweight can make it harder to control them.
Make healthy food choices. It's one of the best ways to reduce your weight, as well as other risk factors.
It helps to eat smaller portion sizes. Today, most portion sizes considered "normal" actually contain much more food than you need.
For example, although a healthy diet includes two-to-three servings of meat a day, a single servings actually only about this size. That's a lot smaller than the portion sizes found in most prepackaged servings, or that are served in restaurants.
Your healthcare team or a dietitian can provide you with more information on how to figure out and prepare healthy portion sizes.
You also need to avoid foods high in fat, especially saturated and trans fats. These include foods like: whole milk dairy products, fried foods, and most processed foods like chips, cookies, and cheeses. Instead, try eating more foods prepared naturally, and low and no-fat versions of your favorite foods.
Try to eat a variety of different foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Cut back on foods high in salt and sugar, and drink less alcohol.
Increase your activity level. An active lifestyle can help reduce each of your risk factors. Almost everyone can benefit from at least thirty to sixty minutes of activity a day. Walking is one of the best activities for you. Other helpful physical activities include: jogging, swimming, and biking.
Although exercise is important, so is safety. Before starting an exercise program, talk to your healthcare team or an exercise therapist.
In addition to exercising, you should also try to increase the activity in your daily life. For example, instead of the elevator... try taking the stairs. When you go to the store...park farther away in the parking lot.
If you smoke, you must quit. Smoking can increase your already high risk of developing heart disease, and make it harder to control your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Sometimes healthy lifestyle choices may not be enough to control all of your risk factors.
Your healthcare team may also prescribe medications to help.
Find out if you have any risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome and make a commitment to take better care of yourself. The steps you take now can produce big rewards in the future.
And nothing is quite as rewarding as our health.
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