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Head off metabolic syndrome

Following a heart-healthy diet can lower your chance of developing metabolic syndrome, an extremely common condition that can lead to other health problems. Metabolic syndrome serves as an early warning system for heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
About a third of Americans have metabolic syndrome, which is actually made up of several different health conditions. They include:
• a large waist
• high levels of the blood fat triglyceride
• low levels of HDL, good cholesterol
• elevated blood pressure
• too much sugar in the blood
You’ve got metabolic syndrome if you have at least three of those factors. The more you have, the greater your likelihood of future health problems. For example, nearly two out of three people with diabetes have high blood pressure. This doubles their risk of cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Several things act together to cause metabolic syndrome, including older age and family history of diabetes or heart disease. Overweight is also to blame. That’s where a healthy diet fits in. Eating the right amounts of the right foods can help you both lose and stay at a healthy weight.
If you have metabolic syndrome or diabetes – or are caring for someone who does — here’s help. Rufty-Holmes Senior Center and Novant Rowan Medical Center are partnering to offer a class for people with metabolic syndrome, diabetes or pre-diabetes and their caregivers.
Living Healthy with Diabetes is a six-week program that teaches participants practical ways to manage diabetes through healthy diet, nutrition and exercise. The classes will also cover medications and other treatment choices, as well as better ways to talk with doctors and family members about the condition.
Developed through research at Stanford University School of Medicine, the class is based on evidence about what actually helps people take control of diabetes and other conditions related to diabetes. Studies show the program can reduce the number of doctor visits and hospitalizations, and lead to a better quality of life for those who participate.
The free, 21/2 hour weekly classes start Friday, March 7. They will be held Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Novant Rowan Medical Center, 612 Mocksville Ave. Space is limited. For more information or to sign up, call Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, 704-216-7714.

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