Prof. Dr. Sabina Zaharieva: 2 million Bulgarians have metabolic syndrome

Table of contents:

Prof. Dr. Sabina Zaharieva: 2 million Bulgarians have metabolic syndrome
Prof. Dr. Sabina Zaharieva: 2 million Bulgarians have metabolic syndrome

The first information site in Bulgarian, dedicated to the metabolic syndrome, is now operational and available at This is a new project of the University Specialized Hospital for Active Treatment in Endocrinology "Acad. Iv. Penchev", whose purpose is to draw attention and inform thousands of Bulgarians affected by this condition, which interferes with their he alth and puts them at high risk of myocardial infarction and type 2 diabetes

According to the International Diabetes Federation, up to 70% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented through a he althy lifestyle.

Metabolic syndrome is a worldwide problem and affects a large number of people. The risk increases with age and obesity. Much of the research indicates that the incidence in Europe and the USA is at 25% of the population.

The mission of the first website about metabolic syndrome is to explain what the syndrome is, to give more information about diabetes mellitus and complications in children, as well as advice on the way of eating and living in general for people with this syndrome, and also for pregnant women.

“Metabolic syndrome is not a specific disease. It is a combination of risk factors such as high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, elevated cholesterol levels and obesity, mainly in the abdominal area, in the same patient," explained the director of the endocrinology hospital, Prof. Dr. Sabina Zaharieva

In sync with the global campaign, which this year focuses on women and gestational diabetes, a third training module dedicated to the role of the mother in the prevention of diabetes was held at the residence of the British ambassador.

Prof. Zaharieva, is metabolic syndrome a disease?

- Metabolic syndrome is not a disease, not a specific disease, but a combination of precisely defined risk factors, such as high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, elevated cholesterol levels and obesity, mainly in the abdominal area, in one and same patient, which together increase the risk of developing serious diseases, for example, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disorders, including myocardial infarction and stroke.

It is important to know that the absence of complaints has nothing to do with the potential he alth risk. Many patients think they were perfectly he althy until they suddenly had a heart attack. This is not true in most cases. In a large part of these patients, already complicated forms of type 2 diabetes mellitus and/or arterial hypertension, which were not known until now, are proven. The meaning of the metabolic syndrome concept is the implementation of early prevention and therapy of essential he alth risk factors with a view to preventing or reducing the severity of cardiovascular diseases.

It is often assumed that metabolic syndrome only occurs in obese people, but this is not true. There are many patients with normal weight and developed syndrome, and vice versa - some fat people do not have any metabolic abnormalities and are "metabolically he althy". But statistics show that 2 million Bulgarians have metabolic syndrome.

Everyone has the opportunity to be tested for metabolic syndrome, and the most basic is to measure their waist circumference. In women of the Caucasian race, to which we and the Bulgarians belong, it should not be more than 80 cm, and in men - it should not exceed 94 cm. If this sign is present, the other symptoms of the metabolic syndrome should also be looked for. Blood pressure should be measured, cholesterol and triglycerides should be checked, and for patients over 45, blood sugar should be tested for diabetes.

For what reason is the syndrome triggered?

- The reasons for the development of metabolic syndrome have not yet been clarified. However, it is known that the interaction of genetic and demographic factors, the environment and especially the lifestyle lead to the formation of a condition that manifests clinically as metabolic syndrome.

The incidence of metabolic syndrome increases with age and peaks in people over 60 years of age. Unfortunately, data from recent years show an increase in the number and a decrease in the age limit among those affected, with cases even among children being registered. It is for this reason that some call it "the plague of the 21st century".

What are the risk factors for its development?

- Obesity - the modern unhe althy way of eating, leads to deposition of fat both under the skin and around the internal organs. Accumulation of fat, mainly in the abdominal area, is referred to as male or "apple" obesity. This type of obesity is associated with the occurrence of metabolic syndrome. In female obesity, in which adipose tissue accumulates in the hips and thighs, no such relationship has been found.

Insulin resistance is also a risk factor. It occurs when the cells in the body become less sensitive or insensitive to insulin, the hormone that is secreted by the pancreas and is responsible for the entry of glucose from the blood into the cells.

Increased blood cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure are other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Is there a treatment and what does it consist of?

- Prevention, early detection and early treatment of the metabolic syndrome are extremely important in the first place. Weight loss is the first and most important step in the treatment of the syndrome. It includes a he althy diet with the consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat and fish, as well as low-fat dairy products. Avoid processed food, which often contains hydrogenated vegetable fats and is high in s alt and added sugar.

Increase your physical activity

150 min of moderate physical activity per week. Balance a he althy diet with a he althy level of exercise. For weight reduction, both the amount of calories that enter the body and those that are expended are important. Losing weight by 5-10% leads to improved insulin resistance, lower blood sugar and blood pressure, and improved fat metabolism.

For patients in whom lifestyle changes are not effective enough, additional drug treatment may be required, targeting individual components of the metabolic syndrome.

What are the consequences of metabolic syndrome?

- People with metabolic syndrome are at a greatly increased risk of myocardial infarction, heart muscle damage, type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body can no longer produce enough insulin to compensate for poor sensitivity to the hormone. This leads to an increase in blood sugar and increases the risk of developing kidney failure, damage to the eyes and nerves, the occurrence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

Popular topic