– Hi Doc, it’s me again. I just came for my anti-blood pressure drugs today.
– Hi, my old friend, Pascal! How are you, after all?
– I’m ok. I tolerate the medication well, and my blood pressure is pretty good. I even lost four kilos!
– Yes, I saw. I was going to bring this up because it’s a very admirable feat. And the smoking?
– I’ll be honest: I cut down on the cigarettes, but I can’t stop entirely.
– What do you think would help you quit?
– I want to try a patch, but I’m not ready right now!
– As long as you’re ready before the one cigarette that kills you, it’ll be fine…
– Always the right turn of phrase, Doc!
– Yes, “the kick-ass sentence!” Come on, let’s see your blood pressure. I’ll measure your waistline today and tell you about metabolic syndrome.
What is metabolic syndrome?
The metabolic syndrome defines the association of several values showing an increase in the overall cardiovascular risk. The central element is the waist circumference, which must not exceed:
- 102 cm in men
- 94 cm in women
Other characteristic values are:
- Triglycerides over 1.50 g/ Liter
- HDL Cholesterol below 0.40 g/ Liter
- Blood sugar over 1.10 g/ Liter
- Blood pressure over 130/85 mm Hg
What’s so bad?
According to this infographic, the characteristics of the metabolic syndrome reunite three of the top five most deadly factors above (HTA, sugar, and obesity). These variables interact in multiple ways:
- Obesity is related to increased waist circumference, visceral fat, and messy cholesterol values.
- Hyperglycemia is related to overweight, nutrition, and increased hypertension risk.
- Hypertension is linked to diet, physical activity, and being overweight. Therefore, hypertension is also correlated to waist circumference and the other variables above.
Thus, the metabolic syndrome is a matrix of cardiovascular risks. Mastering this matrix means controlling your future state of health. It’s identifying, anticipating, and managing the elements that may harm you in the more or less near future.
But there is good news…
First, you have to be aware of it. Here’s how: use a tape measure to determine your waistline size. Then, you must start implementing healthy habits that improve your cardiovascular health.
Here’s what you can do (three axes strategies):
Reduce as much as possible, or even stop the alcohol and tobacco consumption entirely
10 other benefits of quitting alcohol:
- Weight loss: alcohol is high in calories
- Better sleep quality: alcohol stimulates and irritates your nervous system
- More energy to perform better
- Improved physical skills
- Less risk for erectile disorders
- Improved appearance: your skin will look more supple and radiant
- Better hydration
- Improved memory skills
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Normalized glucose levels
10 other benefits of quitting tobacco:
- You’ll live longer: each cigarette reduces life expectancy by 11 minutes. You do the math…
- It makes you even more beautiful: sparkling teeth, smooth skin, fresh breath, and many more.
- It makes you (very) rich: in 30 years of smoking, you will have spent 200,000 dollars
- Improved sexual health
- Freedom from addiction to a substance
- The positive feeling of not supporting a death– and disease-causing industry
- Better oxygenation of the blood, therefore more energy
- Better productivity because you can focus more on your work
- A lower overall risk for 20 types of cancer
Improved overall health because tobacco affects all organs
- Do at least 30 min of physical activity five times/ week: running, swimming, cycling, etc.
- Anaerobic activity
- Running, swimming, cycling
- Personalization (choose the workout type you like most, but vary your routine)
- 10000 steps per day
- Five fruits and vegetables per day
- Foods rich in omega-3: oily fish, salmon, tuna
- Foods rich in omega-9: dried fruits, nuts, almonds
- Avoid saturated fat: cold meats, cheese, chips, soda
- Avoid salt
Pascal’s awareness and efforts deserve support and congratulations. He also needs some reminders along the way to keep him on the road to better health. Since the flame of positive change already exists, we must keep it alive by constantly moving forward.