WHAT IS METABOLIC SYNDROME?
In working with your healthcare professional or reading about diabetes you may hear of metabolic syndrome.
In most people with glucose intolerance or type 2 diabetes, there is a multiple set of risk factors that commonly appear together, forming what is now known as the ‘Metabolic Syndrome’. This ‘clustering’ of metabolic conditions that occur in the same individual to greatly increase cardiovascular risk over and above the risk associated with each single condition.
Even before levels of blood glucose are high enough for a person to be diagnosed with diabetes, hyperglycaemia and related changes in blood lipids (increase in triglycerides and decrease in the ‘good’ cholesterol HDL-c) increase a person’s risk of Cardiovascular Disease CVD.
THE BIG PICTURE
Metabolism is the countless series of chemical reactions that take place continuously within our bodies allowing us to live. It includes all the processes within the body such as digestion, food absorption, waste elimination, respiration, circulation and temperate control.
The food we eat
The body turns the food we eat into fuel for our bodies allowing us to live. The main nutrients we get the fuel from are carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Starches (complex carbohydrates) and sugars (simple carbohydrates), are types of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates come from foods such as bread, rice, cereals, pasta, fruit, potato, kumara, taro, sugar, honey.
Carbohydrates are turned into glucose in the stomach and intestines. Glucose passes into the blood stream and is taken around the body as the vital energy that supports the brain, nervous system, heart and kidneys.
- Our body cells use the glucose for energy like cars use petrol.
- Glucose is stored in the liver and muscles to give our body energy for use when we are not eating. Since glucose is carried to each cell through the bloodstream, it is often called blood glucose.
Using the energy from food
The metabolism of people with diabetes is almost identical to the metabolism of people without diabetes. The only difference is the amount and/or effectiveness of the insulin produced by the body.
- Insulin is a hormone that controls the level of glucose in our blood. An organ in the body called the pancreas produces it. Insulin enables the glucose to be moved from the blood stream into the body’s cells where it is used as energy to help the body to work effectively.
- When insulin levels are either low or not working properly, the cells run out of energy and the body uses fat and protein as alternative sources of energy, which can be harmful.
For people with diabetes the body either does not make insulin, does not produce enough insulin or does not store and release enough insulin. Glucose then builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed and used by the cells.
The word endocrine derives from the Greek words "endo," meaning within, and "crinis," meaning secrete.
The endocrine system is a complex group of glands and is one of the control systems of the body. The endocrine system sends signals throughout the body. This results in a change in the activity of those cells. The effects can take a few hours or weeks.
Glands are organs that make hormones. Endocrine glands secrete different types of hormones that regulate metabolism (food burning and waste elimination), growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep and mood, among other things.
Hormones coordinate the activities of specific cells in certain areas of the body. Hormones are produced by cells in glands, and they are secreted by the gland into the bloodstream. The bloodstream then transports the hormone to certain tissues, where the hormone has its effect.
Different types of hormones control reproduction, metabolism (food burning and waste elimination), and growth and development.
The pancreas is located in the abdomen. It plays an essential role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the body's cells. The pancreas has two main functions in digestion and regulating blood glucose.
The endocrine component of the pancreas consists of cells that create and release important hormones directly into the bloodstream. Two of the main pancreatic hormones are insulin, which acts to lower blood glucose, and glucagon, which acts to raise blood glucose. Maintaining proper blood glucose levels is crucial to the functioning of key organs including the brain, liver, and kidneys.
Endocrinologists are doctors trained to diagnose and treat hormone imbalances and problems by helping to restore the normal balance of hormones in your system. A person with diabetes may need to see an endocrinologist at some time for specialist treatment and advice.
Includes the metabolic reactions - processes within the body such as digestion and food absorption.
The fuel that provides the energy needed for all metabolic reactions is found in food.
The main nutrients we get the fuel from are carbohydrates, protein and fat. Carbohydrates are turned into glucose in the stomach and intestines.
Hormones / insulin
Many processes in the body are coordinated by hormones that regulate and balance the working of organs and cells.
Insulin is a hormone that controls the level of glucose in our blood. It is produced by an organ in the body called the pancreas. Insulin enables the glucose to be moved from the blood stream into the body’s cells to be used for the energy that we need everyday.
People with diabetes either do not produce insulin, do not produce enough insulin or their body's cells don't use the insulin produced efficiently. Without sufficient insulin, the glucose stays in the blood and the level of blood glucose rises, the cells don't have energy for normal activities, and, over time, can damage the heart, kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, and nerves, so it is important that the amount of blood glucose in the body is kept as close to a normal level as possible.
Healthy eating what we eat a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water – the HEALTHY PLATE
How much we eat the size of the servings
Not skipping meals such as breakfast
reducing or stopping sweet drinks
Getting active every day (less sitting)
moderate exercise at least 30 minutes 5 days a week + 30 minutes strength exercises 2 days a week
Getting sleep 7 to 8 hours a night most nights
And taking any medication as prescribed by your doctor
What to keep an eye on
Cholesterol / Blood pressure / Blood glucose levels