There are certain ailments and disease conditions that are noticeably more common in our environment than others. Non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, infertility, et cetera, occur more frequently in any clinic than say, brain cancer. For a lot of people, these diseases do not appear singly. For instance, a person afflicted with peptic ulcer disease may also be seeing an orthopaedic surgeon for knee arthritis.
Medically, a group of signs and symptoms that correlate with one another often with a specific disease is referred to as a syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic diseases and risk factors. If present in the same person at the same time, it can lead to a significantly increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and cardiac arrest (heart attack).
The term ‘metabolic’ refers broadly to all biochemical processes involved in ensuring normal physiological functions of the body. Having metabolic syndrome is like combining the effect of three different ailments, at least, each of which could be serious on its own. For instance, it is bad enough to have high blood pressure (hypertension) along with all its long term effects on the body. Imagine that the same individual has abdominal obesity and has developed difficulties with regulating his blood sugar. The health implications of all three conditions combined in one person makes metabolic syndrome such a serious issue.
Metabolic syndrome is one health condition that has many grave implications on the overall health of an individual. It is present in many Nigerians and ironically, often taken for granted or seen as normal, especially among adults of a certain demographic.
In a systematic review of the distribution of metabolic syndrome in Nigeria carried out in 2015, Oguoma et al discovered that the mean overall prevalence of the condition is at least 27.9 per cent of persons aged 35 or older. It means that three out of 10 Nigerians in this age range are currently battling with metabolic syndrome. Most of these people are largely unaware that they are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other ailments related to obesity and a buildup of fatty plaques in the walls of the arteries.
Metabolic syndrome is by no means just a Nigerian problem. Several international studies have also identified it as a global time-bomb. Up to a quarter of the world’s adults are estimated to have the condition. It is somewhat alarming that metabolic syndrome makes an individual five times more likely to develop diabetes mellitus and twice as likely to have a stroke or a heart attack, compared to people without it.
In 2013, the International Diabetic Federation estimated that 80 per cent of the world’s 200 million diabetics eventually die from cerebro-vascular diseases. In terms of morbidity and mortality, this suggests that metabolic syndrome supersedes HIV/AIDS.
While experts agree that metabolic syndrome is basically underlined by disorder in energy utilisation and storage, its exact cause is still a conundrum for many medical researchers. There is no conclusive cause of the disease, but several established risk factors have been identified in connection with its development. These factors increase the possibility of having the disease. They include:
- Unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Existing diabetes mellitus and/or hypertension
It is evident that managing to avoid many of these risk factors goes a long way to reduce the likelihood of developing the condition. However, actual diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is made by a medical doctor, if at least three of the following five conditions are present in an individual:
Central or abdominal obesity: When the waist of a man measures 40 inches or more, and that of a woman measures 35 inches or more.
Hypertension (high blood pressure with)
Glucose intolerance: A fasting blood glucose level of 100mg/dl or more
Abnormally high level of serum triglycerides
Abnormally low levels of the HDL cholesterol, “the good cholesterol”
Experts agree that a first line approach to the management of metabolic syndrome is lifestyle modification. Even for patients already on medication for one component or another of metabolic syndrome, a change in lifestyle towards healthier living is of utmost importance in the long term goal of achieving optimal health.
Lifestyle modification often involves the incorporation of regular exercise, as well as healthy diet and feeding habit, into daily life. It demands that the individual eschews tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol intake and stays away from any self-medication. Many patients will already start seeing results within the next six months. In a number of patients, medications are often still required in addition to new and improved lifestyle.
The processes of detoxification help greatly in the first line approach to management of metabolic syndrome. The principle of detoxification being practiced at Mart-Life Detox Clinic, Maryland, Lagos, recognises the need to support, rest, cleanse and rejuvenate the organs of the body so as to enhance normal physiological functions and improve natural immunity.
Principles of Mayr medicine are incorporated into an individualised regimen at the clinic, which involves diagnosis of food and environmental intolerances, training on correct processing and ingestion of healthy and simplified meals, as well as appropriate use of orthomolecular supplements and medications.
Weight loss is a common side effect of detoxification. As obesity is an oft-recognised entity central to many of the symptoms that sufferers of metabolic syndrome endure, weight loss is not altogether unwelcome as side effects go. It is, therefore, safe to say that diet modification, weight loss and improved levels of physical activity go a long way in the successful management of metabolic syndrome; while greatly reducing the need for dependence on medication.
Achieving solutions to health issues with minimal drug use is an important cornerstone in Mayr medicine and in detoxification, which are central to the holistic health approach being practiced in the management of metabolic syndrome and other diseases at Mart-Life Detox Clinic.
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