The medical world can’t quite agree on what to call the metabolic dysfunction that affects more than 35 percent of the US population. You’ll hear metabolic disorder, metabolic syndrome, and metabolic disease, but these three names address the same health concern. Quoting from Healthline’s More than One-Third of Americans Have Dangerous Metabolic Syndrome,
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of as many as five conditions.
The conditions are high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, excess body fat (particularly around the midsection), high triglyceride levels, and low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
When a person has three or more of these conditions, they are considered to have metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome can eat away at your quality of life. Instead of our health spans matching up (as much as possible) with our lifespans, we age faster and our health tanks when we ignore our individual health tendencies, like Metabolic Syndrome.
To provide a tangible example on this common health predisposition, a friend shared with me her family’s multigenerational story of Metabolic Syndrome. Read on. Hear how she and her family members have addressed or ignored their health and gather insight.
What Does Metabolic Syndrome Look Like in Real Life?
This month, we’re hearing a health story from my friend who has agreed to share about her family’s ups and downs with metabolic syndrome. For privacy, no names are given.
“Everyone has something,” shares my friend, talking about her daily life with Metabolic Syndrome. “I try to look at my health and think, ‘I know about this now and I can do something now, and I’ll probably be healthier long term, maybe healthier than others my age who are taking their health for granted.’”
My friend agreed to share with me her family’s multigenerational story of Metabolic Syndrome and her candid take on health.
“Metabolic Syndrome runs through my family. When I look at my extended family, you can see how those who consistently tried to eat well and move more are more healthy. I would say that years ago, I could look at my aunts and uncles and see a spectrum of health, from poor to good, but today, they are older (in their 60s and 70s), and its not really a spectrum anymore, it’s two groups: bad health and good health. I want to be in the good health group when I’m 70, God willing.”
She then describes health over the generations. Her grandparents, her dad, and all the siblings have experienced high blood pressure and blood sugar, weight around the middle, high triglycerides, and low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Her grandfather had heart issues and heart surgeries (which the American heart Association states is commonly connected to metabolic syndrome).
“My dad, who’s the oldest, has really made a consistent effort to exercise and eat well while still enjoying a dessert or glass of wine. I see that he is physically younger than his siblings,” shares my friend. “All the men in the family especially seem to have similar problems, and now my uncles are falling apart, but dad has managed to slow that deterioration and is healthy just because he has moved more and eats more well-rounded foods … like vegetables!”
She describes how two of her uncles have extra weight, glaucoma and/or eye-sight problems, including two with detached retinas, hip problems and surgeries, and a “younger uncle has terrible diverticulitis and has had parts of his colon removed.” One aunt, who has also experienced the extra weight gain, has made progress in recent years by exercising more, losing that middle weight and balancing her blood sugars.
My friend then shares about what she calls an often unknown and sadly under-discussed aspect of Metabolic Syndrome. Infertility.
“I’m willing to talk about it because so many people suffer in the dark and think they are alone. They aren’t. Both my sister and I have struggled to get pregnant, and my aunts had similar challenges.”
While there are disagreements between medical professionals about how infertility interplays with Metabolic Syndrome, the connection has been established. It is known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and it runs through families, just like my friend’s family.
“I had one fertility specialist describe PCOS as having diabetes at the ovarian level,” shares my friend, who is still hoping to get pregnant like her older sister. “It’s been a multi-year, long road, but I am more healthy now because I’ve made efforts to work out more consistently, drink more water, etc. I have found that working with my naturopath and my MDs has been helpful to learn and be well-rounded in my care. If I had two takeaways for people, it would be to find medical and health professionals to be part of your team and support — and secondly, move and work out every day. It doesn’t have to be intense or ferocious — it has to be consistent, small or big, but consistency makes a difference in my life and my family’s lives. I see it in my health, weight, my bloodwork. All have improved, and I know this has been the story for my family members who have been consistent too. It’s like those who have moved more seem more alive to me, like they’re able to enjoy life more.”
Hopefully this story got you interested in the idea of Metabolic Syndrome, and next month, we’ll talk about how we can make changes to be consistent with the goal of increasing our health spans (hopefully!) to match up with our lifespans.
Are you looking to get healthier this New Year? Join me for a 30 Day Challenge focusing on metabolic health in January.
There are 3 ways to get involved with this challenge!
- Sign up here through doTERRA and have the challenge at your fingertips for life!
- Sign up with me and get in my FB group while we do the challenge together! (message me on my fb page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- DO Both!!! (I highly recommend!)
We can never have too much support and guidance! I am here to help you get started!!