Wanna stay sharp?

Sometimes we think, “next year I’ll start.”  Or maybe, “after the holidays…”

Unfortunately, cognitive functioning starts to decline in middle age.  Metabolic syndrome (especially impaired insulin sensitivity) is a big predictor of cognitive decline, and probably of Alzheimer’s:

Metabolic syndrome was associated with reductions in recall…, lower overall intellectual functioning…, and nearly significant reductions in learning … and executive functioning…

These results indicate that impairments in cognitive functioning associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes may begin as early as middle age and are primarily due to insulin resistance. These results demonstrate the importance of screening at-risk adults for insulin resistance in order to initiate lifestyle modifications to reverse or prevent these cognitive changes.

Some helpful changes to treat or prevent metabolic syndrome (see your doctor!), from Google Health:

  • Lose weight. The initial goal is to lose between 7 and 10% of your current weight. This generally means that you need to eat 500 – 1,000 fewer calories per day.
  • Get 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, such as walking, 5 – 7 days per week.
  • Lower your cholesterol using weight loss, exercise, and cholesterol lowering medications, if needed.
  • Lower your blood pressure using weight loss, exercise, and medications, if needed.
  • Some people may need daily low-dose aspirin.
  • People who smoke should quit.

What’s metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery diseasestroke, and type 2 diabetes.

According to the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, metabolic syndrome is present if you have three or more of the following signs:

  • Blood pressure equal to or higher than 130/85 mmHg
  • Fasting blood sugar (glucose) equal to or higher than 100 mg/dL
  • Large waist circumference (length around the waist):
    • Men – 40 inches or more
    • Women – 35 inches or more
  • Low HDL cholesterol:
    • Men – under 40 mg/dL
    • Women – under 50 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides equal to or higher than 150 mg/dL

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See vascularanesthesia.com for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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