Find out how weight loss and losing belly fat can prevent metabolic syndrome and decrease your chances of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Death from heart disease, stroke and diabetes continue to prevail. Health care costs are also increasing because of diseases such as these, of which most are accompanied by increased body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.
The American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA) recently released guidelines on how to prevent strokes and other diseases like heart disease and diabetes. In this connection diagnosis and recommendations related to a condition known as metabolic syndrome were updated.
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Metabolic Syndrome and Belly Fat
It is estimated that around 50 million Americans suffer from a condition known as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a collection of metabolic abnormalities resulting in:
- increased waist circumference (≥102 cm/40 inches in men; ≥88 cm/35 inches in women),
- high levels of triglyceride levels (≥150 mg/dL),
- low levels of HDL or good cholesterol (<40 mg/dL in women; <50 mg/dL in men),
- high blood pressure (systolic ≥130 mm Hg, or diastolic ≥ 85 mm Hg)
- high fasting blood sugar (≥100 mg/dL)
These body changes increase the risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. The diagnosis of the syndrome is controversial because there seems to be no clear explanation to its causation, but death rate associated to it has been increasing. However, if one possesses at least three of these laboratory abnormalities, one’s chances of dying from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other related disease are greatly increased.
How to Lose Belly Fat
Since waist size as reflected by abdominal fat is the dominant feature of the metabolic syndrome, weight loss and decrease in abdominal girth or losing belly fat are strongly recommended in obese individuals. These are noted to bring about a lowering of blood sugar levels, blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Consequently deaths from stroke and heart disease decrease.
Lifestyle changes to improve health and decrease risk factors for stroke and heart also include:
- Stop smoking.
- Decrease alcohol intake.
- Exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes.
- Lose weight to achieve a BMI of less than 25.
- Decrease fat and cholesterol intake with healthy eating habits.
To these may be added the following:
- Increase intake of whole grain foods like oatmeal, and avoid enriched or white bread, rice and pasta.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables which are rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
- Get enough rest and sleep to decrease risk of obesity.
- Consult a physician or health professional regarding the use of weight loss products, anti-cholesterol drugs, and other health products before using them.