Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Mikie, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Happy New Year, Everybody!!!

    A lot of attention has been focused on metabolic syndrome in medical circles lately. It is a combination of conditions which may lead to cardiac disease and/or diabetes. The symptoms or conditions are: Obesity, especially around the middle area; Elevated blood pressure; Elevated blood sugar; Elevated triglycerides; and, Below normal HDL cholesterol (the 'good' cholesterol). If one has several of these symptoms or conditions, it is time to take action. Many docs, including my own, treat these individually but don't make the connection of how dangerous they can be when they present together. Most docs also don't try to prevent these conditions but treat them when the patient is already in danger.

    In my case, I was so sick for so long that I couldn't work out so I gained weight. My weight gain was all over but more pronounced around my middle. I had high blood pressure and was taking meds for it. My blood sugar had crept up slightly each year and was 105 fasting when I had my lab work done a year ago. My cholesterol has always been good except that my 'good cholesterol' (HDL) was slightly low. In other words, I had metabolic syndrome. This is especially crucial in patients, like me, with a family history of fatal heart attacks.

    I started out taking my doc's advice and doing aerobic exercise to increase my HDL. It worked and my HDL is now normal and I dropped 16 pounds in the process without any dietary changes. My doc wasn't concerned about my blood sugar but I was and cut out breads, sugar, pastries and starchy veggies. I dropped another 14 pounds. I have 10 more to go to get my body mass index (BMI) into the normal range. BMI can be calculated online on many websites by entering one's height and weight.

    We are a nation of sedentary, sick and overweight people. Docs say that if we had a military draft today, half the young people would be too obese to qualify. New research is providing info on how eating sugar and the wrong kind of fats actually programs our brains to send out hunger signals so that we are never satisfied. Strangely, diet sodas can have the same effect. I have lost the desire for sweets and am satisfied with good food which is healthy. Quality protein, lots of veggies, and some fruit make for a delicious diet. I eat nuts on my cereal, in my salads and for snacks. I drink filtered water.

    I will post this in several locations because I think this info is so important for all of us. I hope that by using my example of how metabolic syndrome can be reversed, others will see that they can make healthier lifestyle and health choices. BTW, I have cut my blood pressure meds in half and hope that when I lose the last 10 pounds, my blood pressure will be normal without any meds. Right now, it is perfect with only half the dose of BP meds I had been on.

    I hope all y'all have a wonderful day and a Happy New Year!

    Love, Mikie
    cynthiaml and gb66 like this.
  2. Windytalker

    Windytalker Member

    Happy New Year to you, too (and all who read this)...

    Excellent information, Mikie. Thanks for posting!:)

    I do want to add a tidbit or two to this post. Mainly, the foods we are offered to eat are not the foods "of old". As an example, most veggies and fruits have been genetically modified (this includes hybrids). Our meats are raised entirely different from the old farm method. Most food has been chemically altered in some form or another and I, personally, believe this is part of the reason we have this epidemic of "metabolic syndrome".

    I believe it was the WHO that recently said beef was bad for us. Wrong! It's all the chemicals our animals are given to keep them alive until they end up on the butcher's block. This includes being fed GMO grains, chemically altered fields they graze on, and medications/vacinations. All this is absorbed into the muscle tissue, etc., that we humans end up consuming. When I'm able to find natural grassfed beef, I lose weight without even example of eating naturally.

    Wheat, corn, soy are among those foods that are GMOs. They are NOT natural in most cases. If anyone eats cereals or grains, make sure you're eating "organic". All the major brands use grains that include chemicals (and even if not, they may be processed with chemicals).

    MSG and all its hidden forms are in most processed foods (even in raw meats sold in markets...called "solution"). MSG messes with our brains and it tends to cause us to eat more (it's a flavor enhancer). The American public is addicted to "flavor" and that's why it's put in foods (plus the producers can use cheaper products).

    A healthy lifestyle is the best way to go, needless to say. But, we have to be constantly on guard and diligent in what we consume. my soapbox!:D

    Hugs to all...

    P.S. I forgot to add...excellent progress, Mikie. You've done well!!! Good for you.:)
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Hi, Windy,

    Thanks for your wise additions to this info. Yes, our food supply is a huge part of the problem. A lot of our beef, when I was growing up in CO, came from grass-fed herds in NE. Even our local drive-thru, Twinburger in Boulder, served fresh ground beef hamburgers made from grass-fed beef in NE.

    Lots of attention is being paid to how toxic our food supply has become. As you point out, the issue with GMO grains is another huge issue. Gluten is known to cause inflammation in the gut and other areas of the body. The wheat and corn available now is not the same as the "ancient grains" or "heritage grains" of yore. All this poisoning of our food supply has been done in the name of progress in order to feed ever more hungry, and ever expanding, populations--expanding in both numbers and weight.

    I watched a film on how unsustainable it is to continue to include beef in our diets. It was a real eye opener.

    Again, thanks again for you wisdom and for sharing this info with us all.

    Love, Mikie
  4. Windytalker

    Windytalker Member

    I'm such a goof! I forgot to post my main point...duh!:confused:

    The main point I meant to make is this...all this food manipulation is playing havoc on our body's hormones. Thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, etc., are affected. I (and others) believe this plays a roll in the obesity epidemic the U.S. is facing...especially in our youth.

    I've always loved the saying..."It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."

    Warm hugs,
  5. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    You are right. It's not just obesity which affects our hormones, it's all the other stuff in our foods. Then, that stuff adds to obesity and the hormones are further affected. Our health is in a downward spiral. Toxins, in the form of pesticides, ruin our guts, where immunity begins. Then, our ability to extract the nutrients from the food is diminished. Again, a downward spiral.

    The good news is that there is a grass roots movement for better, more natural, foods. In neighborhoods where poverty prevents buying quality food, community volunteers help people grow their own veggies in community gardens. There are community greenhouses too.

    The other good news is that the medical community is beginning to recognize the value of good food as healing. Many docs are looking at the big picture in health care and are into prevention rather than just treating illness.

    Thanks again for all your help and input.

    Love, Mikie
  6. gb66

    gb66 Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to add that you can be a normal weight and still have metabolic syndrome. It seems to have more to do with the fat around the middle. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 5 years ago, and also have high bp, high cholesterol, and low thyroid.

    I am unable to exercise and don't need to lose more than 5 pounds at any time (I gain and lose that 5 pounds) so it's hard to control without medication.
  7. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Hi, gb, you are right. Being a normal weight doesn't guarantee being healthy and being a bit overweight, or underweight, doesn't mean one is sick. These are just guidelines. The thing with weight is that people with metabolic syndrome do usually carry excess weight around the middle section. I still have a bit of excess weight there but my weight is pretty evenly distributed. Also, in my yute, I was a jockette with a lot of muscle buildup. Muscle is heavy and a person can be 'overweight,' according to the charts, but be fit.

    I think the thing that is interesting is that now the docs are finding that a lot of sick people have several health issues. It seems to be this combination which puts people in danger of strokes, heart attacks and other health problems. Just fixing one issue helps but it takes a comprehensive approach to get better. In the past, docs have not treated these issues as one condition, metabolic syndrome. They would treat one issue, which is a good thing, but good health needs a more comprehensive treatment plan.

    In my case, the aerobic exercise raised my HDL but my blood pressure and blood sugar were still abnormal. It was when I combined a more healthy diet with the exercise that good things began to happen. Again, the weight loss was never my initial motivation; however, weight loss has, no doubt, helped with these other issues.

    PBS has a whole slew of good shows on right now dealing with good food, exercise and metabolic syndrome. Right now, I'm watching Dr. Steven Masley for the second time. I got the DVD and book the first time. He is one of the best and I recommend catching him on PBS. I watched another program yesterday where researchers took people in a hunter-gatherer tribe in Africa and some African Americans here whose diet consisted mainly of fast food. The researchers swapped the diets of the two groups. When the hunter-gatherers were fed a fast food diet for two weeks, the numbers of good bacteria in their guts declined dramatically. The African Americans, who ate a mostly plant-based diet for two weeks had a dramatic increase in the good gut bacteria. In only two weeks! What a difference a healthy diet makes. Food as healing, and preventive, medicine makes so much more sense than taking pharmaceutical meds once one is sick.

    Thanks so much for your comments. I think everyone gets a lot of good ideas, and info, provided by our members' own stories and input. I really appreciate your and Windy's taking the time to respond.

    Love, Mikie
    gb66 likes this.