Metabolic Syndrome: Lifestyle Factors and Prevention

Metabolic syndrome: one-third of U.S. adults.

Cycling Mother and Daughter, Netherlands/via Wikimedia CommonsConversations about health—whether between neighbors or between clinicians and patients—often revolve around weight problems, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Taken together, these are the cardiovascular risk factors referred to as metabolic syndrome.

In the United States, more than one-third of all adults have metabolic syndrome. This is an astonishing figure, especially because these risk factors can be modified.

What keeps some who are obese or overweight ‘metabolically healthy’?

In recent years, researchers have learned that some people who are overweight or obese do not demonstrate the other risk factors that are part of metabolic syndrome, and therefore these people have a lower-than-expected risk of cardiovascular disease. In a study reported in this month’s AJN (“Examining the Links Between Lifestyle Factors and Metabolic Syndrome“), a group of Taiwanese nurse researchers set out to learn whether there might be lifestyle factors that keep this subgroup of people “metabolically healthy,” protecting them from the other cardiovascular risk factors that usually come with extra weight.

Lifestyle factors associated with prevention.

Dr. Shu-Hung Chang and colleagues performed community-based physical exams on more than 700 people in northern Taiwan and questioned them about lifestyle factors including smoking, drinking, exercise, and the foods they […]

Are the Benefits of Nutrition for Cardiovascular Health Being Undersold ?

By Betsy Todd, MPH, RN, CIC, AJN clinical editor

By Eric Hunt/via Wikimedia Commons By Eric Hunt/via Wikimedia Commons

A nutrition conference at which physicians and medical students outnumber either nurses or dietitians is a rare event. This was the case at last month’s International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine: Cardiovascular Disease in Washington, DC, cosponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and George Washington University.

The speakers, shared a wealth of data on the influence of different types of diets on weight, blood pressure, lipids, serum inflammatory markers, hemoglobin A1c levels, and diseased coronary arteries. More than one pointed out that we too often overestimate the benefits of drugs and medical procedures and discount the effectiveness of diet and lifestyle changes. Some highlights:

Does heart disease begin in utero? Children who are large for gestational age (> 95th percentile) and those born to overweight mothers are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Vascular physiologist Michael Skilton, PhD, associate professor at the University of Sydney in Australia, has also identified microscopic lesions in aortic endothelium of babies born small for gestational age (< 10th percentile). He suggests that their diets include the American Heart Association’s recommendations for omega-3 fatty acid intake beginning in childhood (breast milk, flax seeds, walnuts, or child-friendly omega 3 supplements can be used […]

September 14th, 2015|Nursing, personal health practices|1 Comment

Paired Glucose Testing With Telehealth Support to Empower Type 2 Diabetes Patients

Jacob Molyneux, senior editor

bloodglucosetestingType 2 diabetes is challenging for those trying to meet blood glucose target ranges, often requiring one or more daily medications, increases in exercise, changes in eating habits, and self-monitoring of glucose level. Those who are willing and able to learn about factors affecting their glucose level and to make small daily efforts in one or more areas have the potential to radically improve their sense of control over their diabetes.

This month’s Diabetes Under Control column, “Better Type 2 Diabetes Self-Management Using Paired Testing and Remote Monitoring” (free until April 1), presents a successful story of patient engagement in diabetes self-management. It describes the case of a participant in a clinical trial who, with clinician support, incorporated paired glucose testing (self-testing before and after meals) and telehealth (remote patient monitoring, or RPM).

The article is easy to follow and gives a series of biweekly updates on the patient’s progress. Before the study starts, she’s not very engaged in self-management. For example, she’s only testing her own glucose level three to four times a month. To get a sense of how much more empowered she’s come to feel by week 12 of the protocol, consider this brief excerpt:

February 13th, 2015|digital health, Nursing, patient engagement, Patients|4 Comments

AJN in February: Rapid Response Teams, Complications of CHD Repair, Managing Type 2 Diabetes, More

AJN0215 Cover OnlineAJN’s February issue is now available on our Web site. Here’s a selection of what not to miss.

Rapid response teams (RRTs) are teams of expert providers who can be called on in an emergency to treat patients before their condition deteriorates. The success of an RRT depends on whether it is activated properly, a task that often falls to staff nurses. The original research article, “Hospital System Barriers to Rapid Response Team Activation: A Cognitive Work Analysis,” describes the factors affecting nurses’ decisions to activate RRTs. This CE feature offers 3 CE credits to those who take the test that follows the article.

Further explore this topic by listening to a podcast interview with the author (this and other free podcasts are accessible via the Behind the Article podcasts page on our Web site, in our iPad app, or on iTunes).

Long-term complications after congenital heart defect (CHD) repair. Nurses often encounter patients with complications that occurred years after CHD repair. “Long-Term Outcomes After Repair of Congenital Heart […]

January 29th, 2015|career, Nursing, nursing perspective|0 Comments

AJN’s December Issue: Staffing Issues, Wandering in Dementia, Type 2 Diabetes Meds, More

AJN’s December issue is now available on our Web site. Here’s a selection of what not to miss, including two continuing education (CE) articles, which you can access for free.

Data from the Military Nursing Outcomes Database project demonstrate that inadequately staffed shifts can increase the likelihood of adverse events. But what does this mean for the average nurse on a shift? In “Staffing Matters—Every Shift,” the authors present common dilemmas hospitals face in nurse staffing, illustrating the potential hazards for patients and nurses alike. This CE article is open access and can earn you 2.1 CE credits.

People with dementia are at risk for both missing incidents and wandering. In “Missing Incidents in Community-Dwelling People with Dementia,” the authors differentiate between these two risks, describe personal characteristics that may influence the outcomes in missing incidents, and suggest strategies for preventing and responding to missing incidents. This CE article is open access and can earn you 2.1 CE credits. For more information, listen to a podcast with the authors.

There is a growing consensus that primary care providers can better address patients’ needs by using different models of care, such as the patient-centered medical home. “The Patient-Centered Medical Home” discusses the guiding principles of this model, nurse care coordination, reimbursement and implementation, cost-effectiveness and quality improvement, and the need for greater nurse advocacy.

Being unaware of the realities of licensure can damage a nurse’s career, even […]

November 30th, 2012|Nursing|0 Comments