Metabolic Syndrome doesn’t Sit Well with Me

I have been dismayed by this spare tire around my middle for a while.  I looked around and noticed some of my female friends have it, too.  For some reason, I didn’t look at my men friends’ middles.tire

Was it a post-menopausal thing? No, not with these young women friends having it, too.  So I asked and more than one told me she had Diabetes.

Whatever could that have to do with my spare tire, I wondered.  I may be pre-diabetic, but I don’t have diabetes.  No, I think it’s something else.  So I researched and found I’d been in denial about having (self-diagnosed) Metabolic Syndrome. Certainly I’ll speak with my primary care physician, but meanwhile I decided to tell you about it.

Did you know that one out of every three United States citizens and Canadian citizens suffer from Metabolic Syndrome?  While the title sounds exotic, it’s not. Okay, with those kinds of numbers, this isn’t a case of Metabolic Syndrome being the disease – or syndrome – of the day.  You know, when all of a sudden, everyone you know thinks (s)he has whatever it is… like me.

Okay, so what is it? This is what the Mayo Clinic at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20027243 had to say about it:

“Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”

Busted!  On my August blood draw report, my blood sugar level was high at 6.2 via the A1C.  That’s what it’s been for a year. Normal is between 4.8 and 5.6. A reading of 5.7 – 6.4 indicates increased risk for diabetes.  Just in case you don’t remember, the Hemoglobin A1C measures how well your body handles blood sugar over a three month period. This is important for Chronic Kidney Disease patients because, as defined in What Is It and How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease (page 132 for those with the book), hemoglobin:

“Transports oxygen in the blood via red blood cells and give the red blood cells their color.”Book Cover

Awk!  I almost, but not quite, hesitated to check just how abnormal my cholesterol level was and for how long. I snuck at a quite peek at my book (page 130) before I did that just to be sure I knew what I was checking. The definition of cholesterol was:

“While the basis for both sex hormones and bile, can cause blockages if it accumulated in the lining of a blood vessel.”

So cholesterol is a good thing unless there’s a buildup.  Wait a minute; I need a refresher about bile.

MedlinePlus at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002237.htm cleared this up for me:

“Bile is a fluid that is made and released by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.

Bile helps with digestion. It breaks down fats into fatty acids, which can be taken into the body by the digestive tract.”

My latest cholesterol reading (with medication to keep it low) for Total Cholesterol were in range (100 – 199) at 165, as were my HDL Cholesterol reading at 49 (greater than 39 is acceptable), my VLDL Cholesterol reading at 23 (5-40 is considered normal), and my LDL Cholesterol reading (anywhere from 0 – 99 is normal).

Let’s backtrack just a bit.  HDL is High Density Lipoprotein, the cholesterol that keeps your arteries clear or – as it’s commonly called – the good cholesterol.  VDL is Low Density Lipoprotein or the ‘bad’ kind that can clog your arteries. VLDL is Very Low Density Lipoprotein and one of the bad guys, too. It contains more triglycerides than protein and is big on clogging those arteries.

Hmmm, this is part of Metabolic Syndrome, but I didn’t have it.  Did I ever have a cholesterol problem?  I looked back over the past year and noticed my Total Cholesterol had been out of whack by a point or two once or twice.

blood pressure 300dpi jpgWhat about increased blood pressure?  Well, I do have Chronic Kidney Disease and usually ran about 130/80.  The 130 was the systolic part of the reading; it measured the pressure when the heart is beating.  The lower part of the reading, or diastolic (the 80 in my case) was when the heart was at rest between beats. A normal blood pressure for a person my age (67) with CKD according to the new Eighth Joint National Committee is 150/90. Uh-oh, that’s under control, too.

Having both your cholesterol and your blood pressure under control were good things, and in this case, they pointed out the folly of self-diagnose.  Mea culpa!

By the way, this was important for CKD patients because we’re already at risk for heart disease simply by being CKD patients.  Why add to that risk with hypertension (high blood pressure) and/or hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)?

Okay, so I didn’t have Metabolic Syndrome despite the spare tire I carried. But maybe you do.  Let’s see what you can do about it.

According to MedicineNet at http://www.medicinenet.com/metabolic_syndrome/page4.htm#what_is_the_treatment_for_metabolic_syndrome, the treatment is – you guessed it – diet, exercise, and no smoking.  Medication is used if the syndrome is severe enough, but life style changes are the first line of treatment.

Tonight, my brother and sister-in-law arrive from Florida.  By the time I blog next week, we will have spent time in Prescott, Sedona, and Jerome.  For those of you who don’t know these cities in Arizona, each has its own, distinct personality.  We will also have had an early birthday party for my brother so they can meet my family here, all the step-daughters and almost son-in-laws.  Ladies and gentlemen: this is the best medicine for whatever bothers me.firworks

I am so excited I almost forgot to tell you about the book.  I want to make sure none of you students is renting it for a semester.  Even if you don’t use Amazon’s Kindle Match Book Program, buying the book is LESS EXPENSIVE than renting it, especially the digital copy.  I’m sorry if you’ve been duped into renting.  Periodically I write reminders in the blog about this.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

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