The “Deadly Quartet” (or metabolic syndrome) is a cluster of different metabolic abnormalities, including high blood pressure (hypertension), glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia (elevated insulin in the blood) , abdominal obesity, and abnormal cholesterol levels that can make anyone susceptible to the risk of development type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. (Kaplan,1989) It is well known fact that people who are obese are suffering from the metabolic disorder regardless of whether they eat normally, excessively, or less than normal. At the same moment it is quite obvious that there are people who are constantly overeating but are free of the above disorder.
Each of these disorders is by itself a risk factor for an array of chronic degenerative illnesses such as: gout, kidney diseases, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, which in combination may dramatically boost patient’s chances of developing potentially life-threatening chronic diseases (e.g., cancer, kidney failure, stroke, heart attack, and Alzheimer’s disease).
Having just one of the above conditions (increased blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, abdominal obesity or dyslipidemia) is not a guarantee that a person has metabolic syndrome, but it does strongly contribute to the risk of it. Having three or more of the above factors means the person has metabolic syndrome with elevated risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and if more than two of these conditions occur in combination, the risk is even greater.
Hence, metabolic syndrome is a complex metabolic disorder and in case if you are diagnosed or complain of: abdominal (visceral) obesity, high blood pressure, difficulty of losing weight, elevated very bad cholesterol (VLDL), decreased good cholesterol (HDL), chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, memory problems, attention deficit disorder, frequent insomnia, sleep apnea, blurred vision, uncontrolled diabetes, elevated fasting glucose levels (glucose intolerance) , coronary heart disease, irregular heartbeat, elevated triglycerides, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; certain forms of cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), gout, peripheral neuropathy, kidney problems, cognitive decline (dementia), heart problems, hormonal disturbances, skin tags (acanthosis nigricans) there is a chance you to suffer of metabolic syndrome. (Source, Annual RevNutr., 2005)
According to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) 24% of young adults over 20 have metabolic syndrome and that number reaches 44% by age 50. Actually, metabolic syndrome is present in about 5% of people with normal body weight, 22% of those who are overweight and 60% of those considered obese. More than 300 million worldwide are now classified as obese, according to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2009), while another billion of people are considered overweight. The European health report (2005) places metabolic syndrome far ahead of HIV/AIDS in morbidity and mortality.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA) scientific statement, metabolic syndrome outcomes are so common and so pernicious that the disorder qualifies as number-one public health problem facing the industrial Western world. There are statistic expectations that up to 80% of the almost 200 million adults worldwide will die of CVD, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF, 2003).
Hence, people suffering from metabolic syndrome are also at increased risk of mortality, as they are three times as likely to die from a stroke or heart attack, and twice as likely to die from a coronary event, comparatively to people without metabolic syndrome. Holt and Whitaker (2002) firmly state in their book Combat Syndrome X, Y and Z (The Metabolic Syndrome) that current prevalence of metabolic syndrome is calculated as being one in every four adults in the US population, or about 70 million persons, with a chance of becoming one in every three.
Experimental evidence suggests that it is the exact nature of the cluster which appears to bring additional risk, over and above that which would be expected from each one of the components separately and together. A team of authors concluded that people with metabolic syndrome have five fold greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, if not already presenting with this disorder (Stern et al., 2004).
However, various experts estimate differing rates of metabolic syndrome occurrence. There is a clinical study showing that 25% of otherwise healthy American adults who consume two or more servings of red meat a day will increase their risk of developing metabolic syndrome compared to those who eat meat twice a week. According to Deen (2004), metabolic syndrome will soon overtake cigarette smoking as the number one risk factor for heart disease among the American population.
Retroactive data from the National Health Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the period between 1988 and 1994 are implying that 47 million Americans had metabolic syndrome. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), which randomly selected a study group of 44,000 U.S. residents, the average American’s diet contains 34 percent of calories as fat. According to the National Cholesterol Education Program and Healthy People 2000 Final Review, dietary fat intake should be reduced to less than 30 percent of the daily intake of calories. (Source, CDC.gov)
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