Chapter 16

Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke

Robert E. Smith


Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world. Its major cause is obesity or metabolic syndrome, which can also lead to diabetes and stroke-the third leading killer (after cancer) and the most frequent cause of disability in the world. All of these involve imbalances in energy metabolism. Early symptoms of metabolic syndrome include excessive weight, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and elevated levels of lipids, especially low density lipoprotein (LDL). People who have two or more of these symptoms are at a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Childhood obesity is such a big problem that it will probably mean that this generation will be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Ischemic strokes need to be treated as soon as possible, so it is very important to take a stroke victim to a hospital as soon as possible, so the blockage can be removed and blood flow can be continued properly. Drugs such as aspirin, clopidrogel and dipyridamole can be given to prevent more clots from forming by preventing blood platelets from aggregating. If the patient can get to a hospital soon enough, tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator, can be given. When blood flow to the heart is interrupted, it causes a myocardial infarction, or heart attack. The most common cause is a blockage in the coronary artery that is usually caused by the rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque.

Total Pages: 378-398 (21)

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