The following describes the endocrine system, diabetes, and the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of metabolic disease (syndrome). For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
Hurley's physicians are the best in the region at treating conditions of the endocrine system, especially diabetes
Endocrinology focuses on diseases of the endocrine glands; these glands produce chemicals called hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, thyroid gland, adrenals, pancreas, ovaries, and testes. Additionally, endocrinology focuses on glandular tissues in the stomach or small bowel, as well as osteoporosis, cholesterol, and kidney stones.
Obesity and diabetes
The major reason people develop diabetes is because they are obese. People who are obese are more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes, along with other problems. There are many ways to fight obesity and diabetes, including exercising, playing sports, eating healthy foods, managing weight, and adopting a healthy relationship to food.
If you are morbidly obese or have other chronic weight-related conditions, one alternative is bariatric surgery. At the Hurley Bariatric Center, we recognize that weight loss surgery isn’t for everyone, and that each of our patients is unique with their own personal story and goals. That’s why our team of highly-skilled bariatric surgeons partner with patients to help them choose a custom-tailored plan that’s right for them for successful, sustained weight loss. We provide pre- and post-surgical emotional support, nutrition and exercise counseling, and all the information patients need to make this life-changing decision, as well as 24-hour post-surgical care by our expert surgeons and staff.
If you are interested in knowing more about bariatric surgery at the Hurley Bariatric Center, please click here to register for an FREE upcoming seminar, view the complete schedule of seminars, or to inquire about our surgical options.
Diabetes and metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes a number of risk factors specific to cardiovascular disease, and it significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and/or stroke.
Diabetes education programs
To help people manage or prevent diabetes, the Hurley Diabetes Center offers diabetes education for adults with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Hurley Medical Center also offers diabetes education classes for children and high-risk pregnant women. In fact, Hurley Medical Center is the only organization in the region offering diabetes education encompassing these three groups.
Hurley Center for Health Outcomes
To address many health issues, including diabetes, the Hurley Center for Health Outcomes partners with local groups, foundations, schools, and organizations to improve the quality of life, health and health status of the communities served by Hurley Medical Center.
What is metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes a number of risk factors specific to cardiovascular disease. Metabolic syndrome significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and/or stroke.
Most people who have metabolic syndrome have insulin resistance. The body makes insulin to move glucose (sugar) into cells for use as energy. If the body cannot make enough insulin to override the resistance, the blood sugar level increases and diabetes can result. Metabolic syndrome may be a beginning of the development of type 2 diabetes.
The cluster of conditions and risk factors related to metabolic syndrome was first named in 1988 by Dr. Gerald Reaven. Dr. Reaven proposed that insulin resistance was central to the cause of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular artery disease. Reaven called this cluster of abnormalities "Syndrome X." Since that time, Syndrome X has been known by various names, including metabolic syndrome, dysmetabolic syndrome and insulin resistance syndrome—however, Syndrome X is now widely known as metabolic syndrome.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recognizes metabolic syndrome as a problem of growing concern, especially for those over age 60. Research suggests that more than 47 million Americans have the syndrome. Because the population of the United States is aging and because metabolic syndrome prevalence increases with age, the AHA has estimated that metabolic syndrome soon will become the primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, ahead of cigarette smoking. Increasing rates of obesity are also considered to be connected to the increasing rates of metabolic syndrome.
The factors involved in metabolic syndrome include the following:
- Abdominal obesity
- High blood pressure
- Elevated fasting blood glucose levels
- High triglyceride levels (triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood)
- Low HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol)
What causes metabolic syndrome?
The direct cause of metabolic syndrome is not clearly understood. Many healthcare professionals believe that insulin resistance may be a cause of metabolic syndrome; however, a direct link between the two conditions has not been established. Others believe that hormone changes, caused by chronic stress, lead to the development of abdominal obesity, insulin resistance and elevated blood lipids (triglycerides and cholesterol). A more sedentary modern lifestyle may also play a role.
Other factors which are thought to contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome include genetic variations in a person's ability to break down lipids (fats) in the blood, older age and abnormalities in the distribution of body fat.
What are the risk factors for metabolic syndrome?
A risk factor is anything that may increase a person's chance of developing a disease. It may be an activity, such as smoking, diet, family history or many other things. Different diseases have different risk factors.
Knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you into the appropriate actions, including changing behaviors and being clinically monitored for the disease. Risk factors most closely associated with metabolic syndrome include:
- Increased age
- Ethnicity (African Americans, especially women, and Mexican Americans are more prone to metabolic syndrome)
- Body mass index (BMI, a measure of body fat compared to height and weight) greater than 25
- Personal or family history of diabetes
- History of heavy drinking
- Post-menopausal status
- High-fat diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
What are the signs of metabolic syndrome?
Symptoms are evidence of disease or physical disturbance that a person experiences and can describe. When you feel ill, you can describe the specific ways in which you feel ill. Metabolic syndrome, on the other hand, has relatively few easily identifiable symptoms. However it does have signs, which include objective evidence of disease as observed and interpreted by a physician or other clinician through tests and other measurements.
Factors such as high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, and/or overweight or obesity may be signs of metabolic syndrome. However, these are also indications for other conditions, as well. You should consult your Hurley physician for a diagnosis.
How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?
Various organizations have developed criteria to be used as an aid in diagnosing metabolic syndrome. Included among the criteria of these organizations are the following:
- abdominal obesity
- Body mass index (bmi)
- Elevated triglycerides
- Low hdl cholesterol
- High blood pressure (hypertension) or use of anti-hypertensive medication (medication used to lower blood pressure)
- Elevated fasting blood glucose - a blood test used to check how much glucose is in the blood after fasting for a certain period of time
- Prothrombotic state
- Insulin resistance as identified by type 2 diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, or impaired glucose tolerance (impaired glucose tolerance test measures the body's response to sugar)
- Other risk factors
How is metabolic syndrome treated?
Specific treatment will be determined by your Hurley physician based on the following:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the disease
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Your signs and symptoms
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Your opinion or preference
Because metabolic syndrome increases the risk for the development of more serious, chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, treatment for metabolic syndrome is important. Other conditions that may develop as a result of metabolic syndrome include:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Fatty liver
- Cholesterol gallstones
- Sleep disturbances
- Some forms of cancer
Types of treatment that may be recommended for metabolic syndrome include the following:
- Lifestyle management, including weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation and limiting alcohol consumption
- Dietary improvements and balanced nutrition
- Medication, including drugs prescribed to help lower blood pressure, improve insulin metabolism, lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol, and/or increase weight loss
- Weight-loss surgery, particularly for those who are morbidly (extremely) obese
To learn more about the many ways Hurley Medical Center is leading the fight against diabetes, click on the links below.
- Hurley Diabetes Center
- Hurley Diabetes Education Programs
- Adult Diabetes Education Program
- Pediatric Diabetes Education Program
- Diabetes During Pregnancy Education Program
- Hurley Center for Health Outcomes
To make an appointment for diabetes education, contact:
Hurley Diabetes Center
2700 Robert T. Longway Blvd., Suite G
Flint, MI 48503