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Heart Health and Hormones

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Hormones affect almost every function and organ in the body. In a healthy person, the natural level of hormone helps regulate growth, weight, blood sugars and energy. Speaking specifically of the heart; however, many persons have increased their cardiometabolic risk due to everything from unhealthy behaviors or uncontrolled health problems.

But first, you may ask, what does the term cardiometabolic risk mean? The Hormone Foundation defines this term as the "person’s chances of damaging their heart and blood vessels when one or more risk factors cluster together.” When risk factors cluster, this is called metabolic syndrome – although at times, it is also called syndrome X, cardiometabolic syndrome or insulin resistance syndrome.

The next question is, what risk factors increase a person’s cardiometabolic risk when they cluster or develop simultaneously? Doctors have pinpointed obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. When any of these conditions or diseases combine, a person’s chances of heart attack or even stroke increases.

Exactly who should be concerned about the dangers? For one, anyone that is obese is at high risk. Excess pounds on the body inhibit insulin (a hormone) from doing its job. Insulin, produced by the pancreas organ, helps the body break down sugar. Without it or without enough of it, sugar remains in the bloodstream causing diabetes. And diabetics often develop high blood pressure to complicate matters even further.

What can be done? If a person has developed metabolic syndrome, it’s safe to say that they will have their work cut out for them. Discipline will be the key word. Drastic changes in diet, exercise and behaviors will be necessary. For some, this will mean that they will have to stop smoking all together, as well as decrease their alcoholic intake. Although it is true that baby steps are to be taken at first, consistency will be the prime thing. Also, depending on how severe your problems are, your doctor may want to add to or increase your medications for any new problems areas discovered.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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