Is increased belly fat causing your waist size to get larger? Are you noticing “love handles” and a muffin top you can feel, and internal fat you cannot? That is where heart disease, high cholesterol, inflammation, and diabetes risks lie in ambush. That’s why we’ve been talking over the past several weeks about weight gain as one of the most challenging menopause symptoms.
The visceral, or internal, belly fat is way more than just an accumulation of jelly belly. Visceral fat, and I call it “vicious” fat, is a hormone-making machine that produces unhealthy substances such as adipokines that contribute to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, changes in tissue metabolism, and metabolic syndrome. And it isn’t caused by taking hormones.
Here are the Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome
According to the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, you have metabolic syndrome if you have 3 of the 5 risk factors below:
- Large waist size: For men: ≥40 inches; For women: ≥35 inches
2. High Triglycerides: Either ≥150 mg/dL, or taking a cholesterol lowering medicine
3. Low HDL (Good Cholesterol): For men: < 40 mg/dL, For women: < 50 mg/dL; or Using a cholesterol medicine
4. High blood pressure: Either Having blood pressure of ≥135/85 mm Hg , or using a high blood pressure medicine
5. High Fasting Blood Sugar: ≥100 mg/dL
Remember, if you have 3 out of those 5 criteria, you’ve got Metabolic Syndrome, and that increases your risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Fortunately, there are treatments available.
To find out more about the role of estrogen and metabolic syndrome in my best selling book, The Estrogen Fix.
In the meantime, here is a fun and easy way to learn the details of metabolic syndrome from my music video, “Metabolic Syndrome Song.” Click on the video below to watch, listen and learn.