Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits
Annual preventive care is crucial for overall health. Scheduling and attending preventive care visits, screenings, vaccinations, and condition management appointments can make all the difference in preventing and/or catching a disease before it develops further.
One way to identify risk and help prevent the development of chronic conditions is to screen for metabolic syndrome with your physician. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
How is it diagnosed?
Your medical provider will diagnose metabolic syndrome based on medical and family history, a physical exam, and diagnostic tests. The National Institutes of Health guidelines define metabolic syndrome as having three or more of the following conditions:
- High blood sugar: A healthy blood sugar level for adults after 8-12 hours of fasting is between 70-99 mg/dL. Prediabetic levels fall between 100-125 mg/dL, and diabetic levels fall at or above 126 mg/dL. A consistent blood sugar reading at prediabetic or diabetic levels, a diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes, or taking medicine to treat high blood sugar or diabetes are characteristics of metabolic syndrome.
- Abnormal cholesterol levels: Having HDL cholesterol (sometimes referred to as “good” cholesterol) levels of 60 mg/dL or higher can help lower risk of heart disease. An indicator of abnormal cholesterol levels is having HDL levels lower than 50 mg/dL for women and 40 mg/dL for men.
- High blood pressure: For most adults, a healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. High blood pressure is classified as having a measurement consistently 130/85 or higher.
- High triglyceride levels: Healthy blood triglyceride levels are less than 150 mg/dL for adults. Measurements consistently higher than 150 mg/dL indicate high triglyceride levels.
- Abdominal obesity: A waist circumference measurement of more than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women is considered a risk factor for metabolic syndrome. Different measurement values may be used depending on race and ethnicity. Consider taking a weight-neutral approach by asking your physician if measuring waist circumference is medically necessary.
Knowing more about metabolic syndrome and other chronic conditions will better prepare you for future appointments, testing, and lifestyle choices. Continue reading this month’s materials for more information about risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.