Preventing metabolic diseases.
Metabolic diseases are a collection of diseases associated with disorders of the metabolism or the thyroid gland. These include heart disease, stroke and also diabetes. It is not uncommon for these diseases to bring with them elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, thyroid dysfunction and problematic cholesterol levels. Having only one of these symptoms does not mean you have a metabolic disease. It does, however, mean that you are at higher risk for serious illness. And if you develop more than one of these problems and symptoms, your risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes, thyroid dysfunction and heart disease increases even more. Metabolic diseases are becoming more common and up to a third of the population already suffers from these conditions. If you have a metabolic disease or one of the components, basic lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.
Most disorders associated with metabolic diseases do not have obvious signs or symptoms. A visible sign may be a larger waist circumference. However, you may notice signs and symptoms of diabetes - such as increased thirst and urination, fatigue and blurred vision. These symptoms can be caused by high blood glucose levels.
When should you see a doctor?
If you notice that you have at least one of these symptoms, you should see a doctor. He or she will usually do some tests on you. For example, they may check your thyroid gland and do a blood count.
Metabolic diseases are closely related to being overweight or obese and inactive. They are also linked to a condition called insulin resistance. Normally, your digestive system breaks down the foods you eat into sugars. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that transports sugar into your cells to be used as fuel. In people with insulin resistance, cells do not respond normally to insulin and glucose cannot get into the cells as easily. As a result, your blood glucose levels rise even as your body releases more and more insulin to try to lower your blood glucose.
Risk factors.The following factors increase the risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes or thyroid problems:
- Age: The risk of metabolic disease increases with age.
- Obesity: If you carry too much weight, especially in your stomach, your risk for metabolic diseases increases many times over.
- Ethnicity: In recent years, Hispanics - especially Hispanic women - have seemed to have the greatest risk of developing metabolic diseases.
- Diabetes: You are more likely to have a metabolic disease if you had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
- Other diseases: Your risk of metabolic disease is higher if you have ever had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovary syndrome or sleep apnoea.
- Smoking: If you smoke, you not only increase your chances of metabolic disease and thyroid problems, but you also increase your risk of cancer and many permanent health problems.
How to prevent metabolic diseases?A lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle can reduce the likelihood of developing metabolic diseases. A healthy lifestyle includes:
As you can see, metabolic diseases can have many causes, and are not always related to an unhealthy diet or obesity. However, you can actively prevent them by following these tips - we hope you find them useful! ;)