Metabolism is the complicated way in which the body breaks down food and nutrients and converts them into energy. According to the National Institutes of Health, this includes breathing, blood circulation, body temperature control, muscle contractions, digestion, waste elimination, and brain function. These processes are unique to each person. The term “metabolic rate” refers to the number of calories it takes to carry out these processes.
What affects Metabolism?
Body size, sex, age, food processing and physical activity can all play a role in individual metabolism. Despite what many people think, having a slower metabolism is not fully to blame for weight gain. Burning more calories through physical exercise can help in weight management. So can reducing calorie intake and adopting a healthier diet. When people starve themselves, this actually slows down metabolism as the body goes into survival mode.
When it comes to metabolic disorders, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and diabetes are perhaps the most common. Metabolic syndrome refers to a collection of risk factors known to increase the likelihood of developing conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, metabolic syndrome can also be caused by being overweight or obese, not getting enough physical activity, or by having an insulin resistance. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, an elevated fasting triglyceride level, low “good” cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Having excess weight around the abdomen is also thought to increase the risk. For men, this means having a waist circumference greater than 40 inches. (For women, it’s a waist circumference greater than 35 inches.)
In order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a person must exhibit at least three risk factors. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, people with metabolic syndrome may experience excessive blood clotting and/or low-grade inflammation throughout the body. The condition may be prevented or delayed by making healthy lifestyle changes.
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