Metabolic Syndrome in India – Definition and Prevalence

In one of the most important and recognized Indian health studies of the population done by the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, it was found that the metabolic syndrome was present in more than 40% of the participants in Northern India. This set of symptoms and signs is also known as syndrome X or plurimetabolic syndrome or insulin resistance.

Definition and Prevalence

Undoubtedly one of the current concerns of the health authorities, especially in the so-called developed countries, is the metabolic syndrome. In fact, it is a condition that becomes more frequent every day and is mainly installed in obese or overweight people. In fact, if we take into account the frequency of this condition, it has been reported that it is present in less than 10% of individuals with normal or healthy weight and in more than 40% or 50% in those with significant obesity. But not only obesity in its most marked degrees conditions the metabolic syndrome. It is precisely in central obesity (that is to say, that which focuses especially on the area of ​​the abdomen), where the metabolic syndrome most frequently arises, in comparison with the peripheral type (or the extremities). For this reason, the perimeter of the waist is a good indicator of central or abdominal obesity and the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes major elements: hyperglycaemia, hypertension, hyperuricemia (elevation of uric acid), fatty liver, increased blood triglycerides (fat) and overweight.

For this reason, this syndrome is associated with the development of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and, although all the mechanisms that produce it are still unknown, a central element is the existence of insulin resistance, that is, a disorder similar to what happens in type 2 diabetes.

The Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome

Once the metabolic syndrome is diagnosed, with all its components or only with some of them, it is necessary to take an active intervention, in order to correct the metabolic and vascular imbalances.

There are 2 measures to adopt:

  1. Changes in lifestyle
  2. Sensitizing medication to insulin action

Changes in lifestyle

Similar to what happens with type 2 diabetes, in the metabolic syndrome the axis of dietary changes is to achieve weight loss, gradual but maintained, until reaching acceptable levels.

In the diet of these patients, usually low in calories, it also takes into account the abundant consumption of fluids without calories, the decrease in purines (meats, broths, etc.) because they increase uric acid, and the restriction in consumption of salt, and the elimination of alcoholic beverages (because they raise both uric acid and triglycerides and, in addition, provide unnecessary calories).

Along with the diet, a plan of physical activity is imposed, which does not necessarily have to be intensive. It is more important to generate a time within the daily routine for walking, biking or swimming. The most important thing: maintain continuity.

Insulin sensitizing medication

The same drugs that are used as sensitizers to the action of insulin in type 2 diabetes (metformin, or pioglitazone, for example) may be useful in these patients, especially when hyperglycaemia is a component central.

Other medications

Many times with weight loss and the best activity of insulin, it is unnecessary to add another type of drugs. In others, on the contrary, it is useful, at least for a time, to adopt antihypertensive medication (to control blood pressure) or drugs that reduce the levels of uric acid and / or triglycerides.

As can be observed, the metabolic syndrome is a complex condition with different components and with a probable origin that resembles type 2 diabetes: insulin resistance.

In all cases, follow the guidelines prescribed by your doctor and put vascular risks under control that accompany it.

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