What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?

As the name implies, Metabolic Syndrome is linked to your body’s metabolism and could be caused by your body’s inability to properly regulate the amount of insulin in your bloodstream.  Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas and it helps control the amount of sugar in your blood.

If your body is operating normally, your digestive system breaks down the food you eat into sugar (what doctors normally refer to as glucose).  Your blood then carries the glucose to your tissues where the cells use it as fuel.  Insulin helps the glucose enter the cells.  If you’re insulin resistant, your cells don’t respond normally to insulin and glucose can’t enter the cells as it should.

The body reacts by producing more and more insulin thinking that will help the glucose get into the cells, sort of like pumping the gas pedal in your car to get more fuel to the carburetor.  Just as that can flood the engine in your car, the result is higher than normal levels of insulin in your blood.  And that can, and often does, lead to diabetes.

Even if you don’t develop diabetes, elevated glucose levels can raise your triglyceride levels or interfere with how your kidneys work.  All of which puts you at higher risk for heart disease, stroke and a host of other conditions.

If you have any of the conditions we talked about last week – obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels that are off the mark, talk to your doctor about additional testing.  Determining whether or not you have metabolic syndrome and starting treatment early on can save you from developing serious illnesses down the road.