How Does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Treat Metabolic Syndrome?

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What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome refers to a state whereby an individual is at high risk of cardiovascular diseases due to the presence of many metabolic risk factors, such as obesity, abnormal glucose and lipid profiles, and hypertension. To be diagnosed, one should have at least 3 out of the 5 following conditions, namely abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides, decreased HDL, hyperglycemia, and hypertension. metabolic syndrome conditions

How Does TCM Understand Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome (MS) can be explained in terms of stagnation, heat, deficiency, and damage, which encompass the progression of MS. For a start, the body experiences stagnation which eventually causes internal heat accumulation. This “internal heat” can be understood as a compensatory stage where body functions are slightly heightened, but don’t present any clinical signs or symptoms yet. Using TCM diagnosis, such individuals usually present with heatiness and blood stasis; some, also with phlegm-dampness. After a period of compensatory state, the body functions gradually decline to a stage where the body loses its overall balance, and presents as a state of deficiency in TCM, though some might, at the same time present with “excess syndrome”. This phase is when clinical signs and symptoms such as glucose intolerance, elevated glucose and lipid profiles, obesity, and increased blood pressure start to show. As MS progresses with time, under the influence of various diseases and factors, body meridians become damaged/blocked, resulting in severe circulatory problems and complications.

What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is caused by an inactive lifestyle, too much oily food, too much alcohol intake, mental stress (overthinking, anxiety, and frustration issues), aging, and hereditary factors. An inactive lifestyle stagnates the normal flow of qi and blood; too much oily food affects the digestive system and causes liver-spleen imbalance; alcohol intake causes damp-heat and yin deficiency which leads to meridian blockages; mental stress results in liver-spleen qi stagnation. Although aging and hereditary factors are inevitable, efforts can be made for an active lifestyle, healthy diet, and a well mental state. active lifestyle

How Does TCM Treat Metabolic Syndrome?

TCM plays a complementary role to the conventional treatments of western medicine for metabolic syndrome. Through the use of herbal medications and acupuncture treatment, TCM targets the stagnations and imbalances of the body; rids the body of excess heat, damp-phlegm, and blood stasis; and replenishes deficiencies in the body, where applicable, to alleviate conditions of metabolic syndrome and reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases.

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