Have you ever heard of Metabolic Syndrome? If you are like us, we never did, until December 22, 2016 when Bill was informed he had it. He was still reeling from the fact the week prior, he was told he was at risk for a massive heart attack and/or had heart disease. Like everyone who gets such a scary diagnosis, you never imagine it could happen to you.
In one way, it was a relief! It explained why Bill couldn’t lose a pound when he tried! We are a very active couple, living a lifestyle that demands activity. Or else, we chose this lifestyle because we love activity!
We love the outdoors, either to take hikes, or walk through forests, or go on long beach walks. Bill was in shock and denial because of the long hikes, going up and down some pretty steep mountains and never once felt out of breath! So I guess this means, it can happen to just about anyone without any symptoms or warnings. We know of several active men who literally dropped dead from a massive heart attack that also didn’t seem to have any symptoms.
Dr. Jeffrey E. Askew put Bill’s mind at ease, because of his physical activity, he didn’t think he was in grave danger. But he explained he needed him to take a Nuclear Stress test to rule it out for sure. (Bill passed it the following week with flying colors! And he was taught what he needed to do to get his heart rate up during his workouts.) Next, he explained to us what Metabolic Syndrome was. He gave us a detailed pamphlet while he explained it in layman’s terms. But since it was months ago, I am going to use some excepts and then use some photos.
In essence, this is what it takes to be diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome, and Bill just didn’t fit appear to fit the “picture” – or did he!!! At 6’2″, some of his issues were “hidden.” And in an effort to make his feel a little better, current statistics say about 35% of the US population also have this syndrome. Or, “According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans have it. That’s almost a staggering one out of every six people. The syndrome runs in families and is more common among African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. The risks of developing metabolic syndrome increases as you age.” Again, as an Irishman, Bill doesn’t seem to fit this statistic!
Metabolic Risk Factors: The five conditions described below are metabolic risk factors. You can have any one of these risk factors by itself, but they tend to occur together. You must have at least three metabolic risk factors to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
A large waistline. This also is called abdominal obesity or “having an apple shape.” Excess fat in the stomach area is a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body, such as on the hips.
A high triglyceride level (or you’re on medicine to treat high triglycerides). Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood.
A low HDL cholesterol level (or you’re on medicine to treat low HDL cholesterol). HDL sometimes is called “good” cholesterol. This is because it helps remove cholesterol from your arteries. A low HDL cholesterol level raises your risk for heart disease.
High blood pressure (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood pressure). Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and lead to plaque buildup.
High fasting blood sugar (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood sugar). Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.
Here’s just a summary of a few factoids, with a hyperlink to the original articles:
Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. The term “metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning.
Metabolic syndrome is dangerous because when individual conditions are seen together in a person, the likelihood increases for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
People with metabolic syndrome are twice as likely to die from, and three times as likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared with people without the syndrome.
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. And it took a picture of Bill’s heart, via a CAT scan for him to finally “get it.” He wishes he had understood this all better when he was first diagnosed with high cholesterol. These pictures show multiple things, but most important for Bill was how has affected his arteries. Those detailed pictures will follow this one:
Our take away from all this was the FACT, we needed to change our diets, Bill has to up his working out where he gets his heart rate up and he has to learn how to control his stress level. Now why should a man who is living a dream lifestyle have stress? It’s called LIFE! The generator in our motorhome stopped working for about three months. He was trained as a mechanic so he can usually figure things out. Generators are a different animal and what is so sad, we can’t find any mechanics who work on generators. Anyway, that is a subject for another post. Suffice it to say, this causes him stress! If it isn’t one thing, it’s another!
We are finally getting into a groove with how we now eat. Next post, we will share more details as we are incorporating new technology to make our cooking more minimalistic while we eat whole foods! And that is our key: whole foods are foods that are not processed, we’ve eliminated all junk foods, all processed foods and we only eat naturally occurring sodium. It’s amazing to learn how many vegetables naturally contain sodium! We’ll still beginners so please feel free to help us with this!!!
I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. 2 Kings 20:5