Dr Jayaram, Managing Director, Anand Diagnostic Laboratory
In this fast-paced era of increasing stress levels, changing lifestyles and oscillating dietary habits, health imbalances come as no surprise. If you still think that hiding that protruding underbelly of yours with a stretchable ‘body-shaper’ is a good idea, think again. Your rising tummy fat could be an indication of an underlying disorder, something which could potentially lead to emerge as a silent killer.
Unaware to many of us, excessive deposit of fats in one’s lower abdomen could be an indication of Metabolic syndrome. Also known as Syndrome X or Insulin Resistance syndrome, metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of metabolic disorders such as abdominal obesity, impaired fasting glucose, high systolic blood pressure and atherogenic dyslipidemia.
This syndrome can be associated with chronic low-grade inflammation and patients often have elevated cytokines. This has been frequently noticed in urban children, adults in their middle age and particularly in post pubertal girls. Those who suffer from obesity, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Hypothyroidism and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases are prone to develop metabolic syndrome. Adiposity or morbid overweight is the most important correlate of metabolic syndrome. If you consume a diet rich in Trans fatty acids and do not undertake any physical activity, this disorder could pose serious threats for you. These conditions will increase the deposition of intra abdominal fat. Additionally, frequent night shifts and sleep disturbances can lead to hormonal imbalances that result in hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance. Any three criteria that ranges from waist circumference to Triglyceride levels, cholesterol level, systolic blood pressure or fasting glucose level can lead to the diagnosis of presence of Metabolic Syndrome.
If not diagnosed at the right time, metabolic syndrome can result in type 2 diabetes and acute cardiovascular diseases including heart strokes. One of the finest ways to tackle this disorder is to undergo timely diagnosis. Abdominal ultrasonography is required to diagnose fatty liver because it may be present even in the absence of elevated liver function tests. A clinical assessment that includes a detailed history of physical activity is highly recommended. Weight reduction is an integral part of combating this disorder which can be best achieved by doing physical exercises regularly and through a diligent diet control. Metabolic screening will give you the exact statistics of one’s overall health and how one can work towards making it right.
The need of the hour is to create more awareness about Metabolic Syndrome. The key emphasis here is to mitigate modifiable risk factors through lifestyle changes. Additionally, a diet devoid of transfat, cholesterol, saturated fats etc should be undertaken. As opposed to what you can’t eat, make sure that you eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish etc. Also, if you think you are susceptible to the disorder, make sure your health is in the right track by undergoing timely screening for metabolic syndrome.