ST. LOUIS, Sept. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Metabolic syndrome — a cluster of symptoms including high blood sugar, obesity and cardiovascular problems — has reached epidemic proportions. According to the AmericanHeart Association, 47 million Americans now have metabolic syndrome. The syndrome afflicts 40 percent of people in their sixties and seventies. That number is expected to rise along with our aging population. A recent CDC study published in Pediatrics shows the epidemic isn't limited to older adults either. Obesity in teens has skyrocketed in the past decade, and 23 percent of teens are now classified as diabetic or prediabetic. The symptoms of metabolic syndrome can cause very serious long-term damage to your body — even if you feel fine. "A person with metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times more likely to develop diabetes. Other silent symptoms include eye, kidney and nervous system damage over time," explained Dr. Carl Hastings, chief scientific officer at Reliv International. Could you have metabolic syndrome? Excess weight, particularly around the waistline, is the biggest contributor to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome typically includes three or more of these symptoms:
waistline of 40+ inches for men or 35+ inches for women
high blood pressure, or on blood pressure medication
high blood sugar or type II diabetes
low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol
Balancing Blood Sugar The solution for metabolic syndrome lies in a three-pronged approach of balancing blood sugar, losing weight and improving cholesterol. "When blood sugar and insulin levels drop too low, we feel hungry. When this scenario plays out repeatedly, with blood sugar going up and down, we tend to eat more calories," explained Hastings.