5 Ways To Keep Your Children From Getting Metabolic Syndrome

In adults, metabolic syndrome, which is a group of at least 3 of 5 risk factors like central obesity, high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, abnormal cholesterol, and high triglycerides, predicts heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. But it turns out that there isn’t a single definition for metabolic syndrome in children, so it’s harder to tell when a child has it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) understands that children are not just small adults. That’s why the AAP suggests that pediatricians and parents pay more attention to risk factors and screenings for risk factors when trying to keep kids and teens from getting metabolic syndrome.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

A metabolic syndrome is a group of health problems, including diabetes, being overweight, and high blood pressure. These conditions raise the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases like heart disease and stroke. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and being overweight can all damage blood vessels on their own, but having all three simultaneously is especially dangerous.

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Symptoms

Here are several of the most common signs of metabolic syndrome.

  • At least 37 inches are around the waist for European men, and at least 31.5 inches are around the waist for European women.
  • At least 35.5 inches around the waist for men and at least 31.5 inches for women.
  • A blood pressure level of 140/90 mmHg or higher stays the same over time.
  • Triglyceride level went up, and HDL level went down. This mix raises the risk of atherosclerosis when fatty substances build up in the arteries.
  • Less ability to control how much glucose is in the blood.
  • Blood clots and thrombosis of deep veins are more likely to happen (DVT).
  • If you tend to get inflammation, your tissues will hurt and swell up.

Causes

Metabolic syndrome is more likely to happen if you have a family history of insulin resistance, are overweight, or don’t move around much. So, people who have genes that make them more likely to have insulin resistance are much more likely to get the syndrome if they don’t keep a healthy weight and work out regularly. People of Asian and African-Caribbean descent and women with polycystic ovary syndrome are more probably to have metabolic syndrome.

Steps you can take to produce it are less likely that your kids will get metabolic syndrome. Health risks:

  • Help your child eat and drink better. Insulin resistance is most strongly linked to insufficient whole grains and fiber. This is one of many dietary factors that are linked to obesity. Adults who eat more fruits and vegetables containing fiber and other micronutrients have a lower chance of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Kids can get metabolic syndrome if they eat a lot of fast food and drinks with added sugar, which is high in calories but low in nutrients.
  • Get enough exercise. Physical activity can help you control your weight. Kids can significantly improve their blood pressure, lipids, and insulin sensitivity by doing something that gets their blood pumping for just one of the hours they spend in the face of a screen every day.
  • The number of hours a child spends in front of a screen daily is directly linked to their BMI and the number of calories they eat daily. The AAP discourages screen time before 18 to 24 months, except for video chatting, and suggests that doctors help families make a Family Media Use Plan for each child. This plan ensures that screen time for entertainment doesn’t replace healthy behaviors like getting enough sleep and being active.
  • Get enough sleep. Even when the degree of obesity and level of physical activity are considered, short sleep duration is a bad predictor of cardiometabolic risk in teens who are overweight. Some studies on adults and children have shown that too much or too little sleep is bad.
  • Stay away from tobacco smoke. Unsurprisingly, this is the worst thing someone can do to their lungs and heart. Whether you smoke by yourself or with other risk factors for metabolic syndrome, your child is much more likely to get heart disease.

Screenings for Risk Factors During Well-Child Checkups:

  • Obesity. Using the BMI formula, all children should be checked for obesity once a year. When a child’s BMI is at or above the 95th percentile, a pediatrician can send them to a full weight-management program. Children may also be able to get help from pediatricians who have special training in this area.
  • High blood sugar (glucose abnormalities). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that children 10 years or older with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and two other risk factors get a fasting glucose test every two years. During the screening, if a child is found to have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes mellitus, they can be sent to a pediatric endocrinologist to be treated and kept an eye on.
  • Blood pressure that’s too (hypertension). Every year, all children should be checked for high blood pressure. This can be done at your child’s yearly checkup.
  • Cholesterol. All children between the ages of 9 and 11 should have a non-fasting non-HDL cholesterol test or a fasting lipid test. The AAP also says that children with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile should have a fasting lipid panel.

Treating the Risk Factors:

If your child has numerous risk factors for metabolic syndrome, it doesn’t mean they will get heart disease or diabetes. Still, the chances are higher if the risk factors aren’t fixed or taken away. Some kids may only need to make small changes to their lives to lower their risk of getting sick. Don’t forget that kids are more likely to make good decisions if they see their mothers doing the same.