Metabolic syndrome is the amalgamation of several risk factors that raise an elderly’s chances for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Even moderately raised risk factors can increase a senior’s chances of encountering the aforementioned health issues. Despite the serious nature associated with having the Metabolic Syndrome, seniors with this condition can easily control it by making lifestyle changes recommended in the “Treatment” section below.
A senior is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if they have at least three of the following metabolic risk factors:
– Large waistline – obesity increases the risk for heart disease especially if the excess fat exists in the stomach. A large waistline is defined as follows:
o 40 inches or larger waist circumference for males
o 35 inches or larger waist circumference for females
– High triglyceride level – triglycerides are undesirable fats present in your blood. Triglyceride levels exceeding 150 mg/dL (milligrams/deciliter) are considered high.
– Low HDL cholesterol level – HDL is good cholesterol (fat) that removes cholesterol from the arteries. Low HDL cholesterol levels are defined as follows:
o 40 mg/dL or lower for males
o 50 mg/dL or lower for females
– High blood pressure – if a senior’s blood pressure is too high, it can damage their heart and build up plaque. Blood pressure levels exceeding 130/85 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) are considered high.
– High fasting blood sugar – may indicate the presence of diabetes. Fasting sugar levels exceeding 100 mg/dL are considered high.
The more metabolic risk factors a senior exhibits, the greater their risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. A senior diagnosed with metabolic syndrome has two times the chance for heart disease and five times the chance for diabetes compared to a senior without it. A senior diagnosed with any of the risk factors above should consult the doctor and control it as having even one metabolic risk will increase the chances of having a heart disease.
Although no symptoms exist for Metabolic Syndrome, signs that indicate a potential for having this condition include:
– Having a large waistline
– Being diagnosed with diabetes (especially with type 2 diabetes)
– Being thirsty for prolonged periods
– Frequently needing to urinate (especially during the night)
– Feeling extremely tired
– Unclear vision
– Dull headaches and dizziness
– Frequent nosebleeds
The first step in treating Metabolic Syndrome for the elderly is to make changes to their lifestyle. These changes include performing regular physical fitness, reducing body weight, maintaining a healthy diet and quit smoking. A doctor may also provide medicine to a senior diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome if the doctor feels that lifestyle changes are not sufficient for dealing with the senior’s condition. In some cases, the doctor may recommend the use of aspirin since it can help thin the blood and decrease a senior’s chances of having stroke. Please consult your doctor and pharmacist before using any medication and for more information about effective ways to deal with Metabolic Syndrome.