What is metabolic syndrome? It is a condition involving several risk factors, which usually include truncal obesity, high triglyceride levels, hypertension, low HDL-cholesterol and insulin resistance.
Why worry? Patients with metabolic syndrome, especially those with acanthosis nigricans (a skin condition with raised and dark lesions, usually located on the back of the neck and under the arms), are at risk of developing diabetes. In addition, they are at a higher risk for heart attacks later on in life.
What should I do to take care of myself? Diet modification and losing weight are essential and should be done with the help of all family members. You should walk or exercise about 30-45 minutes daily. Biking, swimming, walking up hill, are a few activities to consider. Limit TV and recreational computer video games to two hours per day. No smoking or alcohol. Use only unsaturated oils (such as olive or canola oil), fish oil and flaxseed and a limited amount of nuts.
Limit the fat content, processed flour and simple carbohydrates in your diet by eating more vegetables, fruits and soy food, which have no cholesterol. Eat at least two servings of fish, such as tuna, trout or salmon per week. Look for food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
For more information on meal planning you may visit the web site www.diabetes.org.