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Health Screening: Beware of Metabolic Syndrome

Health Screening is an important step to safeguard a person’s health.
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Health screening allows screening for potential health conditions, striving at prevention and early management of asymptomatic health diseases, including Metabolic Syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome also is known as Syndrome X, is made up of risk factors that if left unattended can potentially lead to chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and cerebrovascular diseases. Metabolic Syndrome is a silent killer that is often not addressed until a major disastrous event such as a heart attack or stroke strikes with debilitating irreversible complications including death.

What exactly is Metabolic Syndrome?

You have Metabolic Syndrome if you have 3 or more characteristics below:

  • Has hypertension, blood pressure reading of 130/85mm Hg or more
  • Waist circumference >90cm in male and 80cm in female
  • HDL cholesterol of 1mmol/l or less in male, 1.3mmol/l or less in female
  • Elevated triglyceride level of 1.7mmol/l or more
  • Fasting glucose of 6.1mmol/l or more, or has diabetes

What are the risks factors of Metabolic Syndrome?

  • Increasing age
  • In Singapore context, Malay and Indian ethnicity
  • Raised Body Mass Index of 23 or more
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Medical history such as raised cholesterol, hypertension, gestational diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Family history of hypertension, diabetes, raised cholesterol

What are the signs and symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome?

As mentioned, it is an insidious condition that most people present without any symptoms. Some may show an obvious physical appearance of obesity with a large waistline and ‘pear-shaped’ body.

Signs and symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

Why should I screen for Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome has 2 components- the fixed factors and flexible factors. The fixed factors are how we are genetically born and programmed with such as our race, age and family medical conditions that we are unable to change. Having said that, it is not all doomed, and we should not leave our health to fate. Flexible factors include one’s cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose level, body weight and personal lifestyle. We can make a major difference in the outcome by managing these flexible factors.

Health screening for Metabolic Syndrome involves screening for personal and family risks factors. This involves doctors review, both histories taking and physical examinations, batteries of blood tests investigations, blood pressure measurement, weight and height measurement, body fat percentage measurement and baseline ECG. In certain high-risk groups, your doctor may advise you further investigations or specialist input.

Screening for Metabolic Syndrome is aimed at managing the flexible factors of a person, reducing the chance of developing catastrophic conditions such as heart attack and stroke. By understanding one’s risks factors and health situation, your doctor can further advise you on both non-pharmacological (with lifestyle and dietary modification) and pharmacological (if required) changes.

Take charge of your health today, screen for Metabolic Syndrome!

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