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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 22 January
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DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
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Tuesday 22 January 2008
Metabolic Syndrome

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Metabolic Syndrome

People with high blood sugar and raised blood pressure – along with fat around the abdomen and high cholesterol levels – may have Metabolic Syndrome.

This cluster of symptoms means an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

In this edition of Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter and his guest, Professor Tom Sanders, Head of the Nutritional Sciences Division at King's College London, explore what can be done about Metabolic Syndrome, from changing lifestyle, diet and exercise, to taking medication.

There are various definitions of Metabolic Syndrome but all include a large waist.  You are at risk if your waist is over 40 inches if you are a man, 34 inches for women - thresholds that drop to 35 and 31 inches respectively in Asians who are already at higher risk of conditions like diabetes.

We hear from Professor Terry Wilkin, Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Peninsula Medical School, who heads up the ongoing EarlyBird diabetes study which hopes to identify factors that increase the likelihood of developing insulin resistance later in life. He explains that the link with obesity and diabetes is already very clear, and Metabolic Syndrome a growing problem.  

When Tony Russell’s doctor diagnosed Metabolic Syndrome his initial reaction was one of relief – could it explain why he was finding it so difficult to control his weight?

It's not just weight gain in later life which should be a concern.  Lucilla Poston is Professor of Maternal and Foetal Health at King’s College London.  She tells Mark that women who are overweight when they become pregnant are more at risk from gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and haemorrhage during their pregnancy.   It's important for women to maintain a balanced diet, but the idea of 'eating for two' is a myth. 

There's also evidence to suggest that, if the mother is overweight, the baby is more likely to grow up obese, as well as being large when they're born.  Prof. Poston thinks that the hormones produced by the mother can affect the brain of the foetus, causing the child to be obese in later life.

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