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Tell someone you


have a given disease and they usually understand. Tell them you have a “syndrome” and they might not know if you have an illness, a disorder, a phobia, if you’re a hypochondriac or maybe just a little weird! The terms “syndrome” and “disease” are often confused, so a little definition is in order here. A syndrome is described as a set of symp-


toms or conditions that occur together and suggest the presence of a certain disease or an increased chance of developing the disease. A disease is the actual diagnosed impairment of health or a condition of abnormal functioning. Now that we’ve hopefully straightened that out, let’s look at a syndrome that is becoming more and more common in the United States, and the diseases it leads to. The syndrome is certainly one you should take seri- ously as reports show upwards of a third of American adults have it, as do an increas- ing number of adolescents. Metabolic syndrome is a set of five con- ditions that together put you at risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The con- ditions involve increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. As Dr. Bryan Fuhs of Providence Spokane Cardiology says, “Diabetes and metabolic syndrome are close cousins, if not related. But people don’t want to hear they have diabetes.” They may hear they have metabolic syndrome, which, if they do, according to Fuhs means they are well on their way to diabetes. “By the time someone is here they are pre-diabetic at least, metabolic syndrome may just be a rename of pre-diabetes.” The good news, continues Fuhs, is that “it’s a curable syn- drome. Diet and exercise are both impor- tant, but food, the type of calorie you eat and more important, how much you eat are key to the cure.”


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