I am so excited to finally be working in an arena where I can make a difference in people’s long-term health. Today, in America, we are doing little to nothing to prevent chronic disease. We are surrounded by more and more people we know developing cancer, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, osteoporosis, arthritis, thyroid disease, and the list goes on!! I know with aggressive screening and patient education that we can start to prevent chronic disease—but it takes commitment! We need patients who are motivated and interested. We need doctors who are educated and knowledgeable about prevention and treatment.
My practice has been open for just short of 6 weeks. In this short time I have already diagnosed ten people with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. This syndrome and health problem can cause chronic disease if untreated. It can often be easily be reversed with lifestyle modification and proper nutrition.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is not a complex of symptoms or a disease. It is a set of biomarkers that define a risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and even arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
The are FIVE main biomarkers:
- Waist circumference >40 inches for men, >35 inches for women
- Elevated blood pressure. A systolic pressure >130; diastolic >85
- Elevated triglycerides >150
- Low HDL cholesterol < 40 for men and <50 for women
- Fasting blood glucose >100
Have you had all these biomarkers checked?
These guidelines are put forth by the National Cholesterol Education Program. My own opinion is that even this is not a good enough screening tool!
At Balanced Well-Being Healthcare we aggressively screen for cardio-metabolic disease and early warning signs. For instance, in the 10 patients I mentioned that we have diagnosed this month alone—all of them had normal fasting glucose. However, when we asked them to perform a glucose challenge test and measured insulin levels fasting and post 2 hour glucose challenge—all of them were abnormal. What that means is when insulin levels are going up, the body is becoming resistant to insulin. The pancreas has to put out more and more insulin in order to meet demands because insulin becomes ineffective at doing its job. This abnormal insulin level is the first warning that things are headed in the wrong direction. In addition, we test body composition. Even people who have a normal waist circumference may hide fat around their middle and surrounding their abdominal organs. Body composition testing can pick up this fat. We call this visceral fat. Visceral fat can be very dangerous. It acts like a hormonal organ and secretes inflammatory mediators in the body. These mediators lead to insulin resistance and if untreated this can become full blown diabetes. In addition, it usually results in hypertension, chronic aches and pains, elevated levels of cholesterol, and of course an increased likelihood of chronic disease.
If you already have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, carry excess weight around your middle, have a strong family history of cardiovascular disease, or want to prevent chronic disease, you need to be screened. I recommend at the minimum body composition testing, fasting glucose and insulin levels, a glucose challenge test with 2 hour insulin and glucose levels, markers of inflammation in the body, and a more detailed examination of your cholesterol profile.
Take control of your healthcare and get the proper testing. If your doctor has not measured your waist or hips or talked about your Body Mass Index (BMI)—he probably isn’t thinking about your long-term healthcare risks. Demand better care and prevention today! If you want a clinic that practice integrative medicine in Fort Collins, call us today!