Insulin Resistance as the Underlying Cause of Metabolic Syndrome

Have you ever heard of metabolic syndrome? While you may not know the name, odds are you know someone impacted by the condition. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 1 in 5 adults has metabolic syndrome; that number rises to 40% of people 60 and older. Overall, the Mayo Clinic estimates that up to one-third of all US adults are at risk.

Although obesity and inactivity are both major risk factors for developing metabolic syndrome, lesser-known insulin resistance can also be a catalyst for the condition. 

Are you struggling with your weight or think you might have metabolic syndrome? Come see the team at Nova Physician Wellness Center. Our doctors and team are dedicated to helping you live a healthy lifestyle, achieve your weight loss goals, and improve your overall health. Our two board certified obesity medicine specialists will work with you to create a customized and medically supervised weight loss program backed by proven results.  

Here is your quick explainer on metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and the connection between these two conditions.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is not a true condition, but rather a combination of conditions that increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, cardiac arrest, and Type 2 diabetes. While any of the pieces of metabolic syndrome are dangerous on their own, their combination drives up the threat of a serious medical event. The conditions in metabolic syndrome include:

Age, ethnicity, overall obesity, diabetes, and other past conditions also play a factor in development.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. It helps your cells absorb and use glucose, aka blood sugar, for energy. Cells in the liver use insulin to help regulate the amount total amount of blood sugar in the bloodstream; it basically keeps your blood sugar levels even. If you have insulin resistance, your cells can’t effectively absorb and use glucose.

To make up for the cells’ inability to absorb insulin, your pancreas goes into overdrive, increasing the amount of insulin it’s producing in the hopes that eventually enough glucose will be absorbed. All of this work takes a toll on your pancreas, which slowly loses its ability to effectively produce insulin. In time, this decrease in production can lead to prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.

The connection between metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance

A key component of metabolic syndrome is high blood sugar; insulin resistance causes high blood sugar. While the two don’t always go hand-in-hand, you won’t find many metabolic syndrome patients who don’t have insulin resistance as well. 

Additionally, the two conditions have similar lifestyle factors such as unhealthy dietary habits and low activity levels.

What you can do

There are ways to beat back both of these conditions. Because they share risk factors, patients with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance can often find relief from the same sources. Any of the following may decrease your risk of developing either condition:

The team at Nova Physician Wellness Center will help you devise a custom treatment plan that will lead to a healthier lifestyle. 

Don’t suffer through metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance alone. Nova Physician Wellness Center is here to help. Call or request an appointment at one of our three Northern Virginia offices today. You can also send us a message here on our website. 

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