German doctor internal cardiology practice in Mallorca
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Metabolic syndrome

High blood pressure – high blood fats – excess weight – a little sugar
4 different illnesses ?

The above mentioned metabolism and circulation disorders are the most common in modern times, which are times of prosperity, where real hunger has become rare but where on the other hand stress and pressure to succeed characterize everyday life of professionals with many responsibilities.

At present, a quartet of symptoms has repeatedly appeared in the everyday life of preventive medicine. They have eventually become known under the somehow nondescript name of "metabolic syndrome" because of their frequent occurrence.

It is a combination of everything that one associates with an unhealthy life style:

(Mostly) excess weight, high blood pressure, elevated blood fats (neutral fats, so called triglycerides), and frequently moderately high blood sugar. Under this syndrome, the very frequent fat cholesterol is not high, but the HDL fraction, the "healthy cholesterol", is generally low.

There are world-wide known causes: An "insulin resistance" in the muscle and fat tissue apparently plays a decisive role. Insulin, a blood sugar reducing hormone, is produced in certain cells of the pancreas.

In order to provide an overweight organism with insulin (and also because of the above mentioned "insulin resistance"), the organ is necessarily over-stimulated to produce as much insulin as possible. Of course, this can only continue for a certain period of time.

The initially high insulin level has undesirable side effects: The misery of obesity is intensified by an increasing feeling of hunger, which then later down the line increases the demand for insulin production, etc.

The mechanisms are clear, probably as well as the diagnosis. If all the signs point to this diagnosis, what is to be done?

Firstly, all diagnostic uncertainties should be eliminated. The diagnosis can be confirmed by appropriate analysis in the laboratory. Also blood insulin levels can be ascertained. Secondly, alterations like a fatty liver can be verified by a sonography.

¿Qué se puede hacer a nivel terapéutico?
In the first place, the unbalance between the insulin amount and the actual need for it must be adjusted. This means the difficult task of reducing the body mass - weight must decrease. Unfortunately, physical activity must also be increased as much as possible; again, this has to do with the insulin metabolism. A medication therapy of the sugar metabolism disorder and possibly of high blood pressure might be necessary.

The reason why some people tend to become overweight and others - unfairly – do not, is mostly genetic; the according genes have been identified. Someday there might be another approach to therapy - but until we live to see it, the only solution is: weight loss, exercise and possibly medication.