Metabolic Syndrome: Risks and Prevention

Once known in the medical community as “syndrome X” or “insulin resistance syndrome”, 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 one’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Although it sounds mysterious, Syndrome X is very common.

As is true with many medical conditions, genetics and the environment both play important roles in the development of metabolic syndrome. Genetic factors influence each individual component of the syndrome and the syndrome itself. A family history that includes type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and early heart disease greatly increases the chance that an individual will develop metabolic syndrome. On the other hand, environmental issues such as low activity level, sedentary lifestyle, and progressive weight gain also contribute significantly to the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

The following factors increase your chances of having metabolic syndrome:

  • Age — Your risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age.
  • Race — In the United States, Mexican-Americans appear to be at the greatest risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
  • Obesity — Carrying too much weight, especially in your abdomen, increases your risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Diabetes — You’re more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Other diseases — Your risk of metabolic syndrome is higher if you’ve ever had cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or polycystic ovary syndrome.

The good news is that with changes to diet and exercise, you can prevent, control, or even reverse metabolic syndrome. If you don’t, you could develop significant health risks related to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke as part of the condition. Because your risk for metabolic syndrome increases with age, it’s important to start adjusting your health habits early on.

If you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes will likely be the prescription. While medication is often necessary for those with this diagnosis, changes in diet and exercise can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems related to metabolic syndrome. 

If you are looking for treatment for severe obesity and the life-threatening conditions that often accompany it, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Our expert team can help find the right treatment for you. 

metabolic syndrome

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Visual Cues that Make Portion Control Easy

To reach or stay at a healthy weight, how much you eat is just as important as what you eat. How many calories you need each day to lose weight or maintain your weight depends on your age, weight, metabolism, whether you are male or female, how active you are, and other factors. Portion control is important when you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off.

When you’re filling your plate, picture these items to help remind you of proper serving sizes:

  • Protein — Most Americans get way more than enough protein every day. A proper single portion of meat is just 3 ounces – about the size of a deck of cards, a standard smart phone, or the palm of your hand (no fingers).
  • Starches and Grains — Portions have gotten so out of control that over-sized bakery My plate - portion control guideitems have become the norm. Instead of assuming one muffin means one serving, picture this: a bagel portion should look like a regular size can of tuna; a pancake should be the size of a CD; and a muffin should be the size of a hockey puck. The amount of cereal in your bowl should be the size of a baseball, and your rice or pasta side dish should be the size of a tennis ball.
  • Fruits and Vegetables — Fruits are rich in many vitamins and minerals, so they are an essential part of your diet, but they are also a source of sugar. When consuming fruit, keep your portion to about the size of a tennis ball. A portion of cooked vegetables should be the size of a baseball, and a portion of raw vegetables should be the size of two baseballs.
  • Fats — Fats have gotten a bad reputation because they are high in calories and can lead to weight gain when eaten in excess; however, healthy fats, like olive oil and avocado, are a crucial part of a healthy fat. Keep your portions in check by picturing two stacked dice or a poker chip when serving yourself a fat source.

The quantities mentioned here were formulated by U.S.D.A and derived based on energy utilized by the average modern-day human.

For most of us, trying to remember the serving quantities of various foods seems like an impossible task. Fortunately, there is a simpler way of doing things. Follow this last tip regularly, to keep portions in control — Take a 9-inch dinner plate and visualize it divided into four parts – each containing one of the four recommended food groups i.e. fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.

If you are interested in bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment at ViPSurg. Our expert team will find the right treatment for you.

Start Small for Big Results

If you are obese or overweight, exercise can be a tricky topic. Often, working out with extra weight becomes a vicious, negative cycle. Excess body weight puts stress on your joints, bones, and connective tissue, so when you do try to start a regular exercise routine, you end up hurting yourself, making many workouts too uncomfortable or even impossible to do. However, even though your knees probably hurt, your back probably hurts, and you probably already don’t feel good, you must start somewhere.

At the risk of generalizing, often gyms just aren’t that big-person friendly. When you’re obese, walking into a space where other people are already fit can be quite intimidating. On the other hand, for some, going to the gym is what motivates them, and there are certainly good choices for overweight and obese people. Cross-trainers and recumbent bikes all alleviate impact on the joints and lower back as do swimming and aqua aerobics.

For those who wish for something that doesn’t require machines or specialized equipment, here are some simple ways to get started at home:

  • Make A Plan Find the smallest thing you can do right now and commit to doing it every day. “Today I will walk around the block.” Or “Today I will spend 10 minutes doing chair exercises.”  Once you’ve met your small goal for the week, you can always add just a little more to it.
  • Enlist Support — Find someone in your life – a colleague, family member, or next-door neighbor – who will support and encourage you. The use of social support is an undisputed strategy for success. You don’t need another lecture about the health dangers of being overweight; you need positive motivation to make healthier choices.
  • Start Slow — The goal is to start exercising little by little, not to overdo it and end up frustrated, burnt out, or hurt right away. Gentle, easy exercise is the way to begin!

Just as not exercising becomes a routine, so can doing simple and easy workouts. Soon you’ll be craving something a little more challenging. Listen to your body and be aware of problems, but the bottom line is that most of us can do some kind of physical activity to make us healthier.

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Let’s Not Sugar Coat It – Carbs Get a Bad Rap

Over the past few years, carbohydrates, especially refined sugar, have gotten a bad reputation. Unfortunately, an “all-or-nothing” restriction could be causing many people to eventually binge on these foods, often leading to weight gain and the problems that accompany obesity. Despite the messages in the media about the dangers of carbs and sugars, it is important to remember that not all carbohydrates are bad.

As a matter of fact, to boost your metabolism and ultimately lose weight, one must incorporate good carbs into their daily diet. Good carbs provide vital nutrients and essential fibers and help you stay full.

What are good carbs?

Good carbs are complex carbs that provide energy and nutritional value. For example, whole grains like quinoa, barley, faro, brown rice, and vegetables like sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, or artichokes. Whole grain breads and pastas are easy to incorporate into your diet. These foods will keep you energized for a long period of time and are a healthy staple to any meal.

What are bad carbs?

Bad carbs are refined carbs, often filled with added sugar and devoid of nutritional photo-1458938354258-3e66eb36eb7bvalue. Examples of these would include foods containing refined grains like white rice and foods containing white flour like bread, pasta, and pastries. Bad carbs will provide temporary relief of hunger, but since the nutritional value is so low, the feeling of fullness is short-lived.

Remember, carbs do have their value, and that value should not be underestimated. Whole grains are reliable suppliers of energy; they take longer to break down than refined carbs, and they help make you feel fuller and more satisfied. Whole-grain carbs, when taken in the right portions, are not usually the issue when it comes to weight gain.

Also remember that no diet is perfect. While a well-balanced diet should predominantly include complex carbohydrates, eating simple carbohydrates in moderation will not necessarily make you gain weight or cause chronic diseases.

According to the American Heart Association, women should have no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day and men should have no more than nine. Consuming large amounts of refined sugar is hard on your whole body. It can cause weight gain, high cholesterol, and diabetes, but it also effects mood, sleep, skin, and digestion.

If you are looking for ways to treat severe obesity, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Our doctors are experts at bariatric surgery and can help find the right treatment for you.

How Much Water is Enough?

You may have heard that you should aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. How much you should actually drink is more individualized than you might think. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) currently recommends that men should drink at least 104 ounces of water per day, which is 13 cups.

They say women should drink at least 72 ounces, which is 9 cups. Even still, the answer to exactly how much water you should drink isn’t so simple.

While the eight glasses rule is a good start, it isn’t based on solid, well-researched information. Your body weight is made up of 60 percent water. While every system in your body needs water to function, your recommended intake is based on factors including your sex, age, activity level, and others, such as if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

The current IOM recommendation for people ages 19 and older is around 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. However, this is your overall fluid intake per day, including anything you eat or drink containing water in it, like fruits or vegetables.

Of this total, men should drink around 13 cups from beverages. For women, it’s 9 cups.
If you find it challenging to get in all that water each day, here are a few tips to help:

  • Measure out the water you plan to drink for the day. This gives you a visual reminder as well as lets you see your progress throughout the day.
  • Have a plan. Have a certain amount you want to get in by lunch time. Set aside what is left for the afternoon, perhaps making it so there will be a smaller amount remaining for the early evening.
  • As you sip your way through the day if you find you’re not going to make it, add some fresh squeezed lemon to your water and a few drops of natural sweetener.

In addition to the general health benefits of proper hydration, for years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help. Also, food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are interested in bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with VIPSurg. Drs. Tsuda and Ryan are ready to help you find the right solution for your unique situation.

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Health and the Holidays – How to Focus on Fun Not Food

Let’s face the facts here — most holidays are associated with certain foods. Our holiday gatherings usually revolve around an extravagant meal. Christmas at your house might not be the same without your aunt’s creamy corn casserole, but that doesn’t mean food has to be the main focus of the day. Instead, get into the other rituals a holiday brings.

Lead an Activity

We’re not suggesting you forgo or even minimize the importance of the holiday feast or traditional foods, but adding in some physical activity is something that’s good for the whole group. You can be creative, but here are some holiday themed activities to get everyone up and moving:

  • Caroling – who doesn’t love belting out a holiday tune? And what fun it is to hear people laughing outside (2)singing, open your door, and see a group of neighbors reveling in holiday spirit! Basically, this is a walk with plenty of stops for resting for those older or less fit among us.
  • Cut your own tree – Don’t buy a tree from a roadside lot where the trees have been drying out for weeks. Instead, visit a tree farm where you can cut your own. The tree will be fresher and often less expensive than they are at the lot. Also, you will burn calories (and fight some of the blood-sugar effects of the sweets you’ve been sneaking) by tromping around the grounds in search of the perfect tree. *Added bonus: Your family will have one more pleasant holiday memory to look back on of a lovely walk through a pine forest with loved ones.
  • Be inventive – nobody knows your family and friends better than you, right? Maybe a little friendly competition is in order. Perhaps your family enjoys a game of flag football or even musical chairs can get the heart pumping.

The point is — try to add some fun group activities that will get you and others moving.

Be Selective at the Table

Some of the more fattening or unhealthy choices on the table will be common foods that you could eat any time of the year. Opt instead for the holiday specialties if you want to “spend” your calories wisely.

  • Choose baked sweet potatoes over the cream and butter-laden mashed potatoes on the buffet.
  • Pour the gravy and sauces lightly. You may not be able to control what’s being served at a holiday meal, but you can make the turkey, roast beef, and even mashed potatoes and stuffing much healthier by skipping the sauce or gravy or ladling on just a small amount.
  • Indulge in only the most special holiday treats. Skip the store-bought baked goods, but do save some calories in your ‘budget’ to sample treats that are homemade and special to your family, such as your grandma’s special Yule log cake.

Teaching yourself what is worth indulging in and what to skip is much like budgeting your money: Do you want to blow it on mundane things that you can buy anywhere? Or do you want to spend it on a very special, one-of-a-kind souvenir? Don’t completely deprive yourself on festive days – your willpower will eventually be overwhelmed, and you’ll end up overeating.

All of us at VIP Surg wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season!

 

 

 

Tips for Finding the Right Surgeon for You

Almost any surgery can cause serious complications, so you always want to be in good surgical hands. With so many doctors, how do you know which is the right surgeon for you?

One indicator to note is how often surgeons perform a procedure. That can be vital for operations that are relatively new, such as gastric bypass surgery for treating obesity. While many surgeons have started performing the operation, not all are qualified. A September 2009 study found that the risk of serious complications from the most common form of gastric bypass surgery fell by 10 percent for every additional 10 cases per year the surgeon had performed.

However, quantity isn’t the only or even most important measure of quality. A May 2009 study of 81,289 adults who had heart bypass surgery, for example, found that success depended more on how well surgeons and hospitals adhered to various markers of surgical excellence—such as using the appropriate technique during the operation and prescribing the right medications before and afterward—than the number of procedures performed.

Don’t be afraid to question your doctor. Ask your prospective surgeon these questions before going under the knife:

  • Is surgery really necessary? The best way to avoid surgical errors is to avoid surgery entirely, so ask about the effectiveness and safety of alternatives. Compare those with the risks of surgery and the chance that it will help you.
  • Is your board certification up to date? Look for a surgeon who has undergone the necessary training, even after being in clinical practice, to maintain board certification in his or her specialty.
  • What’s your experience? Ask how many operations the surgeon has performed in the past year and how that compares with his or her peers. You don’t have to find the busiest, most experienced surgeon in North America, but it’s important to avoid the doctor who does very few of the procedures, especially in a place that does very few.
  • What are your success, failure, and complication rates? Not all will be able or willing to tell you, but the good ones should be.
  • What’s the hospital’s infection rate? Seventeen states now make that information public, and many hospitals report their rates voluntarily.

doctor-650534_960_720Just remember to worry less about bedside manner and more about the final outcome. If you have to choose between a nice surgeon and a highly skilled surgeon, the skilled surgeon is the better bet.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are looking for a surgeon who is both compassionate and highly skilled, Dr. Tsuda at VIP Surg is everything you’re searching for. Whether you have general surgery needs or are interested in bariatric surgery, he and his team of experts have the experience and skill for you to have an excellent outcome.