There are so many health conditions and diseases to worry about these days that the names can get lost in the shuffle. We want to point out one you may or may not have heard of. It’s called metabolic syndrome. This health condition is different than others because you absolutely have the power to rid yourself and your workplace of it.
So you might be asking, what exactly is metabolic syndrome?
The syndrome is basically a cluster of conditions that—when found together—greatly increase your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The conditions are increased blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.
You might recognize that each of these—even when found alone—can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke and blood pressure. Just presenting with one of the conditions, however, doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. It’s the combination of conditions that makes the syndrome so serious.
And what causes the conditions to present together?
It’s fairly simple really. Obesity and inactivity are usually the cause of metabolic syndrome. It’s no surprise because these two key lifestyle factors also cause a whole host of other health issues.
The syndrome can also be linked with an insulin resistance. This is what causes the elevated blood sugar and the huge risk for developing diabetes.
These conditions sound fairly common, so why is metabolic syndrome so bad?
Well the specific conditions involved with the syndrome are risky in and of themselves. Combining these conditions makes the syndrome something that can lead to lots of health complications. The two biggest concerns are diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Metabolic syndrome’s link to insulin resistance means that if you have the syndrome, your glucose levels will likely increase. This increased blood glucose is what causes diabetes.
High cholesterol and blood pressure, on the other hand can cause problems for your heart. They damage and clog your arteries which can lead to severe cardiovascular disease.
But how can metabolic syndrome affect your workforce?
Well obviously you want your employees to be healthy. This type of health condition isn’t a great step towards better health. The promising thing about metabolic syndrome, though, is that it can be caught and often reversed.
You can get an idea of your workforce’s risk for metabolic syndrome from the aggregate results you received after your biometric screening event. If you notice a general trend towards high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure levels, high blood sugar levels and large waste circumference, you might want to switch a few things up.
Similarly, if you notice that a majority of your employees sit in one place all day while snacking on junk food and sugary drinks, it might be time to introduce some health habits throughout your office.
What kind of wellness initiatives can combat metabolic syndrome?
For this question—we could go on for hours! But for your sake, we won’t. To prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome, there are really three major things you need to do.
First, start a wellness program. If you haven’t already, work with your company management to starting planning a wellness program. Depending on the needs of your employees, implement relevant wellness initiatives. This can include basic screening and health services, counseling, wellness activities and so much more.
Second, screen regularly. Biometric screening events are a great way to catch negative health trends. They’re also an excellent way to track your company’s progress and help your employees understand their own personal health status.
Third, promote health and activity. Your company culture plays a huge role in your employees’ lifestyles—they do spend most of their day with you after all. Take steps to develop a culture of wellness in your workplace. Sponsor educational sessions, activities, contests or anything else your employees want to learn about and focus on when it comes to wellness.
Essentially, metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that present together and put you at risk for some serious health problems. You and your employees can directly affect the syndrome with the lifestyle choices you make. Use your wellness program—or start a wellness program—to help spread the word about developing healthy habits and create a happier, healthier workforce.
How are you fighting metabolic syndrome in your workplace?