As the bulk of the U.S. population skews older, medical professionals continue to monitor the simultaneously uptick in the number of folks afflicted with cardiovascular issues as a result of metabolic syndrome (MetS). These demographic factors, coupled with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, has resulted in nearly one in four persons over the age of 20 having issues with their metabolism, with that number growing to one in two for those over age 50.
MetS, while not a disease in itself, is an umbrella term for a cluster of risk factors that could lead to diabetes, cognitive decline and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. MetS will more than likely look like an overall decline in health beginning as early as age 30. Most notably, one may see an increase in their waist size and triglyceride levels, as well as experience low HDL levels, high blood pressure and an elevated fasting blood sugar level. That said, it is not uncommon to see insulin resistant folks or those with diabetes also present with MetS.
Obesity and inactive lifestyles could also put one at risk of MetS, cardiovascular issues, heart attack, diabetes, stroke or a general hardening of the arteries. In these cases, folks may present with a fatty liver, polycystic ovaries, gallstones or difficulty breathing. Older adults are therefore encouraged to have lipid tests and to take part in screenings based on suggestions from their primary care providers in order to get back on the road toward a more heart-healthy, happy lifestyle.
Being diagnosed with MetS more than likely means there is already some underlying root cause or disease that is generating still more risk factors such as diabetes. MetS symptoms could also mean that an individual is already a bit overweight or has a damaged heart, or a liver or kidney problem. Thus, impairment will generally present as still more immobility issues, increased inactivity or home-bound care.
Those with diabetes could be at far greater risk of impairment due to complications from eye damage, nerve damage, kidney strain or the loss of fingers, toes and feet. In the case of the latter, not only is mobility jeopardized, but one’s overall mental and emotional state may become more fragile. Feeling blue or down is not uncommon as an older adult with diabetic complications beyond MetS learns how to navigate their once-familiar surroundings. Additionally, being told you must make drastic changes in behavior could also leave a senior feeling uncertain, less confident and more likely to stay sedentary.
On the contrary, ramping up an exercise regimen too quickly could also strain an older adult not used to the rigors of motion and put them at risk for a sudden cardiac event or a short stay in the hospital. Having to go to the emergency room could also result in exposure to infection and more time spent away from recovery.
MetS and other metabolic issues could result in the following impairments:
Complications from diabetes, to include amputation
Depending on which symptoms are present for the older adult with MetS, family and friends may want to encourage their loved one to invest in a medical alert tracking system.
While in-home medical alert devices have been around since the 1970s, new technology has allowed older folks to take their safety and peace of mind into their own hands—or wrists, as it were. Exercise is highly encouraged for those who present with MetS or who may be at risk for diabetic complications from sedentary lifestyle. You can couple your exercise routine with medical alert technology to alert first responders in the event of an emergency during a workout.
Symptoms that may result from MetS:
Medical alert technology may not be for everyone, and in-home medical alert devices may seem excessive if the various factors associated with MetS are caught early. Still, there are measures one can take to boost safety while simultaneously improving their quality of life.
The various symptoms and risk factors that fall under the MetS umbrella need to be treated seriously. MetS is a precursor to more serious complications such as cardiovascular disease, mental decline, stroke and diabetes. Obesity is just one symptom that can be easily managed through an increase in exercise and focus on improved eating.
That said, becoming more active after years of living a sedentary lifestyle could place undue stress on the body and result in a trip to the emergency room. In order to avoid the latter, a medical alert tracking system could be well worth the investment. This type of technology not only encourages movement, but also monitors location and can put you or a loved one in touch with emergency responders should the need arise.