Metabolic syndrome refers to the presence of a group of risk factors specific for cardiovascular disease. It greatly increases the risk of developing the diabetes, heart disease, stroke or all three. Clinical manifestations of metabolic syndrome include any three or more of the following factors:
- Abdominal obesity Or Truncal obesity- is defined as waist circumference of more than 88 cm (35 inches) in women and more than 102 cm(40 inches) in men
- Hypertension- High blood pressure levels
- Hyperglycemia- High blood sugar levels
- Hypertriglyceridemia- High Triglyceride levels in blood
- Reduced levels of High Density Lipoproteins(HDL-The good cholesterol)
- Symptoms of insulin resistance- Darkening of nape of neck, hirsutism(male pattern like excessive hair growth in females on face,chest and back) along with high blood sugar levels
Metabolic syndrome is a major and increasing public health problem worldwide in the wake of urbanization, increasing obesity and sedentary lifestyle. It increases five-fold risk of type 2 DM and two fold-risk of cardiovascular disease.
The metabolic disorders can be elaborated as Santarpana Janya Vyadhi since it involves vitiation of Agni, production of Ama, vitiation of kapha and meda. Ayurveda described the Snigdha, Pichhila and Guru Ahara Sevana (intake of excess oily, fatty and heavy-to-digest food), Madyapana (excess consumption of alcohol) , Atiasana (sedentary lifestyle) ,Avyayam (no exercise), Divaswapna (sleeping during the day) etc as the causative factors for metabolic syndrome.
The treatment of metabolic syndrome cannot be simply focused on relieving the symptoms, but it needs to work on overall lifestyle modification and complete detoxification of the body as symptoms may reappear if the causative factors are not completely eliminated. At Panchakarma clinic, we work on following principles to reverse the metabolic syndrome from its root cause:
- Detoxification of body to remove toxins from the channels with the help of Panchakarma and other therapies
- Stimulating agni and balancing doshas with Ayurvedic medicinal preparations
- Lifestyle modifications under the guidance of Ayurveda’s pathya and apathya principles( Do’s and Don’ts)
Panchakarma therapy includes five types of different detoxification treatments at deeper levels to eradicate the root cause of any pathological condition in the body. It includes procedures such as Mridu Virechana (light purgation), Shodhana Vasti (medicated enema) and Ruksha Udvartana (gentle rubbing of the skin with dry substances) are commonly used in Metabolic Syndrome. Vamana therapy (vomiting) is used with expert guidance.
Ayurveda Drug Therapy
The basic principle of treating metabolic syndrome as per Ayurveda involves use of drugs which balance the doshas and help to regularize circulatory and hormonal functions of the body. The drugs which metabolize excessive fats and improve digestive fire also offer beneficial effects in case of metabolic disorders. Drugs like Trikatu churna, Chitrakadi vati, pippali churna promote Agni and correct metabolic processes. Immunity enhancer drugs, also known as Ojas promoters like Amalaki, Guduci, Silajatu etc stimulate the defense mechanism. Dashamoolarishta, kaisora Guggulu, Triphala etc are the preparations which are found to be quite effective in regularizing the blood sugar levels and lipid levels ,when taken in correct dose prescribed by the Ayurveda physician.
Ayurvedic Lifestyle Modifications
Lifestyle modifications has equal importance as the medicinal treatment especially in case of metabolic syndrome. All other treatments will be ineffective if healthy lifestyle changes are not incorporated. Ayurveda has put nidana parivarjana (avoiding the root cause) as the priority and Acharyas have mentioned special do’s and don’ts for Santarpanjanya vyadhi or metabolic syndrome, as follows:
- Avoid excessive oily, fatty and heavy-to-digest food(Guru guna food), which put burden on digestive fire and create Ama(toxins) in the body
- Ayurveda has emphasized special use of Barley(Yava), old wheat( Purana Godhuma) and mudga preparations in meals of patients with metabolic syndrome and Diabetes mellitus
- Take food only after complete digestion of previous meal (Jirna Bhojan)
- Avoid excessive use of milk/dairy products including milk, curd, paneer, ghee, sweets
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
- Start with regular exercises including strenuous exercises and yoga
- Do meditation and pranayama to optimize levels of stress hormones
- Avoid sleeping during the day and make sure to move frequently if you have a sedentary job (sitting job)
As metabolic syndrome is a progressive disease, the early it is diagnosed and treated, the lower will be the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other complications of Diabetes mellitus.