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Metabolic Syndrome

Dr. Linda James shares discusses Metabolic Syndrome with a focus on prevention and treatment options available.
Metabolic Syndrome
Featured Speaker:
Linda James, MD
Linda James, MD is a member of the medical staff at Palmdale Regional Medical Center.

Melanie Cole, MS (Host): We’ve all heard of diabetes and we’ve all heard of obesity, but not everybody knows what metabolic syndrome is and how it can contribute to some of these situations. My guest today is Dr. Linda James. She’s a hospitalist and a member of the medical staff at Palmdale Regional Medical Center. Dr. James, tell us what is metabolic syndrome?

Dr. Linda James (Guest): Yes. Metabolic syndrome makes up five risk factors. Those five risk factors include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, blood pressure greater than 130 over 85, high blood sugar, or insulin resistance. Those are things that make up the metabolic syndrome.

Host: So let’s start with insulin resistance then. People don’t always understand what that is. I'm an exercise physiologist, so I've been kind of teaching people this for years. Explain for the listeners what that means when you say the word insulin resistance.

Dr. James: So insulin resistance is when you're not producing enough insulin and therefore your sugar levels are going to be elevated.

Host: So you're not producing insulin. Is your body able to use the insulin that it does produce?

Dr. James: Yes. You can use what your body produces, but it’s not producing enough. It doesn’t function as well.

Host: So what are some of the risk factors for somebody with metabolic syndrome?

Dr. James: If you are overweight, that’s a big reason why you would have metabolic syndrome. If you have increased body girth in your abdominal area, that’s a risk for heart disease as well as strokes. Your BMI is over 27, that’s going to put you at the beginning of being obese or overweight.

Host: If somebody is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, what’s the first thing that you recommend? Do you go medicational intervention or do you try and get them to exercise and take up healthier lifestyles?

Dr. James: The first thing you want to do is a lifestyle, healthier diet, exercise.

Host: Then what? If somebody tries those things and they're not working for them, are there any medical things you might try for them?

Dr. James: Yes. We want to first send them to a nutritionist to help them figure out what they're doing to make the changes that they need to get to the goal. The next thing we’re probably gonna do is do some lab work. We’re gonna look at the hemoglobin A1C to see what is the risk factor for diabetes? Are they in a normal level for their hemoglobin A1C for their risk or are they a prediabetic? Or are they at diabetic level? So what we want to do is look at that first. Then after we look at all of that and if they're prediabetic—Prediabetes you're going to be at a number between, depending on what lab you're looking at, 5.7/5.8 to 6.4. That’s prediabetes. Many of the labs look at 5.6 as the cutoff for normal. So if you're between 5.7/5.8 to 6.4, we’re gonna call you a prediabetic. At that point, we’ll give you maybe three months for diet and exercise. After three months, we will recheck. At that point if you're still between the 5.7 to 6.4, you will be put on metformin. That will help with the prediabetes.

Host: So then give us your best advice, Dr. James, as we wrap up. Really what would you like people to know about metabolic syndrome? Their risk for diabetes, heart disease. So many other comorbidities that can come along with this umbrella term. What would you like them to know about hopefully preventing it in the first place?

Dr. James: I would like to let people know that a healthy lifestyle, healthy diet, being active on a regular basis is going to keep you from getting this disease or the syndrome of diseases.

Host: Thank you so much Dr. James for joining us today. You're listening to Palmdale Regional Radio with Palmdale Regional Medical Center. For more information, please visit Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Palmdale Regional Medical Center. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. This is Melanie Cole. Thanks so much for tuning in.