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A disease of affluence is spreading
Around every third person in Germany suffers from the metabolic syndrome - and the trend is rising. Many don't even know they are affected. This syndrome reflects a combination of four physical conditions that are often the result of a modern lifestyle: obesity, high blood pressure, high blood lipid levels and high blood sugar. Doctors warn of the serious consequences of this condition, which ticks like an internal time bomb in our bodies.
Heart attack, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, gout, kidney, eye and nerve damage are just a few of the consequences that favor a metabolic syndrome. Why this condition is so dangerous, explained Dr. Eric Martin at an international training congress of the Federal Chamber of Pharmacists.
The deadly quartet
"If left untreated, the metabolic syndrome is still a time bomb," explains Dr. Martin in a press release from the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations. The widespread combination of overweight, high blood pressure, elevated blood lipid and blood sugar levels dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. These four health conditions, also known as the deadly quartet, combine a number of risk factors for secondary diseases.
Why is the metabolic syndrome so dangerous
"Obesity and obesity are not just cosmetic problems," said the expert. In particular, the fat accumulation in the abdominal region (“apple type”) goes hand in hand with a greatly increased number of inflammatory messengers, which are formed by the abdominal fat and have a negative effect on the whole body. At the same time, excess fats from the blood are deposited as plaque in the blood vessels and thus promote arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) - a main trigger for heart attack and stroke. The high blood pressure favors chronic heart failure and can also lead to kidney and eye damage. A constantly raised blood sugar contributes to the onset of type 2 diabetes. In addition, patients with metabolic syndrome often show elevated uric acid levels, which in turn favor gout.
Dangerous insulin resistance
"The most important consequence of inflammatory obesity and thus the trigger of the metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance," emphasize the experts from the Federal Pharmacy Chamber. This significantly disrupts the effects of the body's hormone insulin. For a while, the body can correct this independently by increasing insulin production until it finally comes to the development of diabetes. At the same time, the oversupply of insulin is also fueling other pathological conditions such as high blood pressure, lipid metabolism disorders and arteriosclerosis.
What can you do about the metabolic syndrome?
"The sooner this cycle is broken, the more the harmful consequences for health can be avoided," advises Dr. Martin. Lifestyle changes with a healthier diet, weight loss and more exercise are an indispensable basis for the treatment of the syndrome.
Treatment too late due to lack of suffering
"Patients often do not understand the relationships between the individual factors," says Martin. In the development phase of the syndrome, there is often no suffering - until the "bomb" bursts. According to Dr. Martin also prefer too many patients to use the medication more comfortably than to face lifestyle changes. However, this only works against individual aspects of the syndrome. There is still a lot of educational work by doctors and pharmacists, the expert sums up. (vb).