Have High Blood Pressure or Cholesterol ? Rule Out 'Syndrome X' !
The following is a reproduction of a Millennium Health Centre editorial article which appeared in the Seaway News newspaper in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. The content is shortened to accommodate a newspaper space allotment. As such, it is not academically cited with references. These are available, so please feel free to email your questions.
Dr. Stephen F. Jones B.Comm., N.D.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Hypertension (high blood pressure) and high cholesterol are amongst the most common conditions treated in North America. Unfortunately, the great majority of blood pressure / cholesterol patients are routinely prescribed medication without a full examination of what may be actually causing their elevated blood pressure / cholesterol in the first place. In particular, the possible existence of a medically recognized condition called 'Syndrome X' is rarely investigated.
'Syndrome X', also known as 'Metabolic Syndrome' or 'Insulin Resistance', is not science fiction. First defined by Dr. Gerald Reaven of Stanford University, the condition has been investigated through extensive medical study and has been speculated to exist in some 60 million Americans alone (one in four in that country). The possibility of Syndrome X is a concern for those with hypertension or high cholesterol because the condition can actually cause the elevated cholesterol or hypertension in the first place.
Syndrome X is actually a condition whereby insulin does not properly break down and use the sugar in your blood (glucose). According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the key indicators of Syndrome X included elevated blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol (with low 'good' cholesterol and high 'triglycerides') and central obesity (a waist of greater than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women). Put another way, if the patient is overweight, has high blood pressure and high / abnormal cholesterol, Syndrome X should be investigated before routine medication is prescribed.
The investigation required is far more than the 'standard' blood tests. A patient should have something called 'C-reactive protein' checked (as discussed in the medical journals Diabet Med, 2004 and Curr Hypertens Rep, 2004). Likewise, they should have a blood test called Homocysteine checked, along with what is called fasting plasma insulin and fasting glucose (Nutr Rev, 2003 and Am J Cardiol, 2004). A thorough assessment would also include a blood test called Insulin Growth Factor 1. The take home message is that much more than the 'standard' blood tests are required.
The good news is that many recognized treatments exist to help regulate insulin resistance. While space doesn't permit a review of all of these, one 'natural' medication is worth attention. A particular component (called the SX-Fraction) of the Maitake mushroom (in a pill form) has extensive laboratory tests showing its ability to lower blood glucose, regulate insulin and rebalance cholesterol. Research at Georgetown University and the work of one Dr. Abram Ber has shown blood pressure lowering effects in human trials. Although more study is necessary, use of this medication offers a safe option in stabilizing Syndrome X.
Going beyond medication, treatment of Syndrome X must always include diet changes and exercise. Patients must limit fatty foods, eat less refined foods (such as bread, pasta, muffins etc.), increase 'good fats' and eat more protein when consuming what are called 'high glycemic' foods (such as bread, potato etc.).
Best of health to you and your families.
Please call or write the Seaway News, or email Dr. Jones at email@example.com with any inquiries about this editorial.