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What Causes Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X)?


What causes Metabolic SyndromeMetabolic Syndrome creates an increased risk of Cardiovascular Disease, generating symptoms like hypertension (high blood pressure) that can lead to a heart attack and stroke.

This dangerous condition, also known as Syndrome X, is affecting a growing number of people as obesity reaches epidemic levels in the United States and throughout the world. Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome are linked by Insulin Resistance. This latter condition causes an imbalance of glucose and insulin levels and is being increasingly identified as an underlying cause of obesity- a crucial factor in heart disease prevention because it inflicts major damage on the cardiovascular system.

Metabolic Syndrome
"...approximately 90% of overweight Hispanic children with a family history for type 2 diabetes have at least one feature of the metabolic syndrome and 30% possess the metabolic syndrome.

Our results support the view that improving insulin resistance may be crucial in the prevention of both type 2 diabetes and premature cardiovascular disease in this at-risk subpopulation of Hispanic youth."
Cruz ML, Weigensberg MJ, Huang TT, Ball G, Shaibi GQ, Goran MI.,J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jan;89(1):108-13.

Insulin Resistance prevents the efficient conversion of food into energy by desensitizing the walls of your cells to insulin.

Insulin acts as "a key in a lock", allowing glucose to pass through the cell wall and be converted to energy. But Insulin Resistance prevents glucose passing through the insulin "door" into the cell. As a result, the rejected glucose floats freely in the blood stream, causing elevated levels of blood sugar, which are sent to the liver. Once there, the sugar is converted into fat and carried via the blood stream throughout the body in a process that can lead to weight gain and obesity.

Free-floating insulin also has a harmful affect. It can damage the lining of the arteries and contribute to the development of several forms of cardiovascular damage.

Aterioscleroris is literally the hardening and thickening of the arteries. This condition, divided into three distinct variants, can occur due to thickening of the muscular wall of small arteries and aterioles (arteriosclerosis itself), build-up of fat deposits (plaque) on the inner walls of arteries (atherosclerosis) or the calcification of the wall of the arteries (Monckeberg's medial calcific sclerosis).

In addition, the imbalance of glucose and insulin caused by Insulin Resistance can lead to a greater risk of developing Cardiovascular Disease because it causes increased levels of triglycerides, which are fat-storing substances carried through the blood stream to the tissues. As your weight increases, stressors build up on the entire cardiovascular system. The heart and lungs, for example, have to work harder to distribute an adequate amount of freshly-oxygenated blood throughout the body. As well as the increase in triglycerides, there is also a lowering of “good” HDL cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Increased insulin and glucose levels in those suffering from Metabolic Syndrome have also been proven to cause changes in the kidneys’ ability to remove salt as well as increasing the risk of blood clot formation. All of these are key factors in the development of Cardiovascular Disease, heart attacks and stroke.

The role of inflammation is another factor which is being studied closely by the medical profession.

Inflammation  is part of the body's immune system, which triggers a defense response to harmful stimuli or injury by sending specialized blood cells to damaged areas. Once there, they attack "invaders" like the renegade molecules called "free radicals" and clean up dead and dying cells. In the case of inflammation and Metabolic Syndrome, the "invader" is thought to be excess levels of insulin, which can be caused by Insulin Resistance.

As a disorder, inflammation can take an external form like the reddened, tender skin which draws attention to a splinter in your finger. Or it can be an unseen, internal process in response to something harmful like high blood pressure.

To combat internal harm, inflammation produces C-reactive protein (CRP), which, unfortunately, can damage the arteries by helping to form plaque while attempting to tackle a long-term condition like high blood pressure or high LDL cholesterol levels - often accompanying symptoms of Pre-Diabetes as well as Metabolic Syndrome.

Plaque can seriously impair blood flow and lead to a heart attack or stroke. A blood test measures CRP levels and the higher that level is, the more at risk you are from cardiovascular disease. There's contradictory evidence about whether CRP levels and Insulin Resistance are closely linked.

Research about inflammation is often cutting edge material that still needs ample verification. But scientists are gathering data that inflammation precedes and may predict reversible Metabolic Syndrome.

Previous research had already linked inflammation to heart disease and obesity, which are both common in people with Pre-Diabetes. To learn more, click on Inflammation, Insulin Resistance and Metablic Syndrome.



You may be interested in some of our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Metabolic Syndrome and the Insulite MetaX System.

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the Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome




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Insulin Resistance Articles
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"Researchers agree that insulin resistance is central to the metabolic syndrome. When target cells are unresponsive to insulin, the pancreas responds by pouring even more insulin into the bloodstream, leading to high levels of the hormone in the blood, a condition called compensatory hyperinsulinemia. The high level of insulin in the blood forces glucose into cells but also starts the events leading to arterial damage and eventually a heart attack. Under these conditions, a person may not manifest either diabetes or heart disease but could well be on the way to either or both."
A. MAUREEN ROUHI, Chemical and Engineering News. November 22, 2004.Vol. 82, No.47  
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"Simply losing 5-7% of your body fat (typically 10-15 pounds) and increasing your physical activity by taking a brisk walk 4-5 times a week can reduce your risk of developing Type II Diabetes by almost 60%."
Diabetes Prevention Program study 2001, study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, et al.
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"A non-pharmacologic treatment for these patients is needed, since drugs prescribed to lower blood pressure have been shown to actually worsen carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in Syndrome X patients, negating the beneficial effects of those drugs."
Duke University Study, results published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, September 2003.
Article by Dr. Sheri Colberg, Phd, FACSM
"I cannot believe the difference the Insulite System has made in how I feel. My appetite has changed tremendously. I do not crave carbs and sugar and my appetite is somewhat diminished."
PR
  Bakersfield, CA
"...approximately 90% of overweight Hispanic children with a family history for type 2 diabetes have at least one feature of the metabolic syndrome and 30% possess the metabolic syndrome.

Our results support the view that improving insulin resistance may be crucial in the prevention of both type 2 diabetes and premature cardiovascular disease in this at-risk subpopulation of Hispanic youth."
Cruz ML, Weigensberg MJ, Huang TT, Ball G, Shaibi GQ, Goran MI.,J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jan;89(1):108-13.
"To gain the most benefit from modifying multiple metabolic risk factors, the underlying insulin-resistant state must become a target of therapy."
Bogdanovic, Streten and Langlans, Beata, "Metabolic Syndrome: New Opportunities in Diagnostics and Therapeutics", DMD Publications, 2004.  
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