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Syndrome X

[Syndrome X: Who is Susceptible, How to Steer Clear ]
[Treatment for Syndrome X | About Cholesterol ]
[Insulin Resistance | Who is at Risk? | Risk of Heart Disease ]

There is a horrifying epidemic facing about 70 million Americans, called Syndrome X. Syndrome X is a variable combination of being overweight, insulin resistance, high blood cholesterol and hypertension. These Syndrome X factors cause early coronary artery (heart) disease.

The increased occurrence of glucose intolerance (diabetes mellitus) and the associated phenomenon of Syndrome X are alarming. Syndrome X links high blood pressure, insulin resistance, being overweight, heart disease and glucose intolerance. Type II diabetes associated with being overweight has reached epidemic proportions in the US. It may affect up to one in six males between the ages of 35 and 55 years. If you are at risk of diabetes mellitus contact your physician.

STOP! You May Be One of 70 Million Americans Who Have Syndrome X!

People with Syndrome X may ask these questions, without recognizing their problem:

  • Why is my energy level low?  Syndrome X ?
  • Why do I have high blood pressure or cholesterol? Syndrome X ?
  • What would it be like to feel truly healthy?  Syndrome X ?

Syndrome X: Who Is Susceptible, How To Steer Clear 

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Treatment for Syndrome X

Antioxidants include ellagic acid, anthocyanidins and powerful bioflavonoids. Antioxidants provide nutritional support to combat free radicals, which may cause aging and chronic disease. The hidden epidemic of insulin resistance and Syndrome X are threatening our health and well-being.  Just like an iceberg, the real Syndrome X risk is what is beneath the surface, not what is readily visible to us. Insulin resistance creates a circumstance that favors a damaging combination of high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. These Syndrome X disorders cause much of the premature loss of life and disability of western nations. The U.S. population is at great risk of developing Syndrome X, at special risk are African Americans, Hispanics and Native Indians in the U.S. 

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About Cholesterol

It has been estimated that 162 million Americans may have high blood cholesterol. Furthermore, the American Heart Association reports that 60.8 million Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease.

High blood cholesterol is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Nutritional scientists have claimed increasingly that high blood levels of homocysteine are recognized risk factors for heart disease.

Cholesterol lowering drugs have side effects that may result in discontinuation of therapy. The most effective and widely prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs belong to the family of “statin drugs”. The statin group of drugs may cause liver damage and severe muscle problems. They may deplete CoEnzyme Q10. Thus a natural, nutritional supplement derived from oats and berries has such potential. 

The first line option for lowering blood cholesterol involves dietary adjustments and appropriate exercise. Individuals with high blood cholesterol are advised to seek care from their physician. 

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Syndrome X: Who Is Susceptible, How To Steer Clear
from WebMD Health
Bethanne Black, Medical Writer


Just when you thought you knew all the risks of being overweight, high cholesterol, and hypertension, it's time to think again. A condition called "syndrome X" is increasingly becoming the subject of medical journal articles and studies throughout the United States.

Syndrome X is not new. Stanford endocrinologist Gerald Reaven, M.D. coined the term in 1988 to define a specific group of associated symptoms that includes insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, being overweight, blood-fat abnormalities, and hypertension.  

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Insulin Resistance

Nutrition author Jack Challem explains: "Insulin resistance is the centerpiece of syndrome X, leading directly or indirectly to the other symptoms associated with syndrome X. You cannot have syndrome X without insulin resistance." Challem adds, "The easiest way to diagnose insulin resistance is with a conventional two-hour glucose tolerance test." This test, which involves drinking a glucose solution and having blood samples drawn, can be done at a doctor's office.

Insulin resistance is a hormonal "jam" that interferes with the body's ability to efficiently burn food. Muscle cells become more resistant to insulin, thereby reducing the ability of nutrients to pass through the cell membrane and into the cells. The pancreas tries to compensate for the resistance by producing more insulin. If this cycle continues, diabetes may result.

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Who Is at Risk

"Both men and women are susceptible to syndrome X," says Laurence Sperling, MD, medical director of preventive cardiology at the Emory Clinic. "Central obesity is often seen, and although men more commonly develop an apple versus pear shape when they become overweight, women who develop syndrome X have a greater cardiovascular risk."

Dr. Sperling says that the obesity epidemic in Western society is the perfect environment for syndrome X to grow in. "This syndrome X is also known as ‘the deadly quartet.'  Insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension, and lipid abnormalities are the main factors." Research also suggests evidence that non-white ethnic groups seem more prone to the disorder. Also, as people age, they become more insulin resistant, and aging can make it harder to develop healthier diet and exercise habits.  

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Risk of Heart Disease

According to cardiology experts, cholesterol changes linked to insulin resistance may lead to clogged arteries and heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, "People with syndrome X are at increased risk of coronary artery disease." Studies also suggest that insulin resistance and heart disease are linked.

Challem says, "Sugar actually makes blood-platelet cells--the specific type of cells that form blood clots--stickier and more likely to clump together. Sticky platelets are more likely to clot abnormally in blood vessels…so they increase the risk of heart disease and stroke." Dr. Sperling agrees: "Syndrome X patients have a very high cardiovascular risk. Unfortunately, the problem often remains undetected."

Luckily, there are several steps to take that will help reduce your risk of getting syndrome X. Harry Preuss, MD, professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine advises, "There are things that will help you avoid syndrome X. Eat fewer calories, and enjoy more fiber-rich foods. Avoid eating too much sugar and bad fats. It may help to eat less saturated and trans fats. All of these efforts contribute to a decrease in insulin resistance." Challem agrees with Dr. Preuss' nutritional approach. In his new book, Syndrome X (John Wiley & Sons, January 2000). Challem and co-authors Burton Berkson, MD, and Melissa Diane Smith offer nine basic nutritional principles that may prevent the development of syndrome X:

  • Avoid refined carbohydrates including white flour, white rice, and white sugar and other sweeteners.
  • Eat foods in as natural and fresh a state as possible.
  • Emphasize non-starchy vegetables as your primary source of carbohydrates.
  • Keep your intake of carbohydrate-dense foods moderate or low, depending on your health.
  • Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, alcohol, and other highly processed drinks.
  • Eliminate omega-6-rich vegetable oils from your diet, and instead use cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil.
  • Enrich your diet with omega-3 fats whenever possible.
  • Steer clear of trans-fatty acids, which are found in deep-fried foods, margarine, and foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Eat some protein at every meal and snack.

Maintaining a regular exercise program may also help you avoid syndrome X. Besides burning calories, physical activity increases cardiovascular health and may even reduce appetite. If joining a gym is not an option, engaging in regular, moderate exercise such as walking, dancing, or working in the yard may help.

Reprinted with exclusive permission of Natures Benefit, Inc.

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