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Metabolic Syndrome: Lowering Your Heart Disease Risk

For people with metabolic syndrome, the risk of developing heart disease can be a concern. Here’s how you can help keep your heart healthy:

Control high blood pressure. One symptom of metabolic syndrome in adults is when one or both blood pressure numbers are high. Blood pressure numbers of 130/80 mm Hg or higher are considered high blood pressure, or hypertension. To keep your numbers down:

  • Lose weight, if needed.

  • Limit saturated fat, salt, and cholesterol in your diet.

  • Get regular exercise.

  • Don't smoke. Nonsmokers have fewer and less severe diabetes-related complications and better control of their insulin dosing and blood sugar.

  • Don't drink too much alcohol.

  • Take any prescribed medicine as directed.

Keep your cholesterol in check. Having high blood cholesterol raises the risk for heart disease. High levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol or triglycerides are risk factors. It’s possible to have only a low level of HDL (good) cholesterol. This alone can lead to heart disease.

Take medicines to lower cholesterol or triglycerides as prescribed. The same steps that help control blood pressure can help keep cholesterol and triglycerides in line.

Control your blood sugar. Blood sugar that is near the upper limit of normal (elevated) is a common part of metabolic syndrome. The same steps that help control blood pressure can help keep your blood glucose under control. Don't have sugar-filled soft drinks.

Get some type of exercise every day. Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure and improve fitness levels. Try for 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. But any movement is better than none. Start slowly, ask for exercise ideas from your health professional, and do something you enjoy.

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