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Do you know your numbers?

Make the grade and prevent Metabolic Syndrome

Late nights preparing for the Sunday sermon. Meetings with the deacons and finance committee. High stress putting out office fires. Hospital visits to congregation members. Hamburger and French fries between appointments.

Sound like the average ministry work day?

Ministry work can create a challenging environment to live a healthy lifestyle. But your health is a valuable resource. Make conscious choices — eat healthy foods, take the stairs — to reduce your risk of Metabolic Syndrome.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is the name for a group of conditions linked to being overweight or obese. "It's a serious health condition that affects about 34% of adults," according to the American Heart Association. It dramatically increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other health problems.

What are the risk factors?

  • Abdominal obesity. Increased belly fat equals increased risk. A waist circumference greater than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women puts you in greater jeopardy.

  • Elevated triglycerides. Levels at 150mg/dl or above are a red flag.

  • Low HDL (or "good") cholesterol. Levels at 40mg/dl for men and 50mg/dl for women are too low.

  • High blood pressure. If it's higher than 130/85, you're at risk.

  • Elevated fasting blood glucose. Levels of 110mg/dl or above are too high.

One risk factor is worrisome. But metabolic syndrome studies show a combination is much worse. If you have three or more of the factors, you may have metabolic syndrome and should consult your doctor immediately.

How can Metabolic Syndrome be prevented?

  • Start today by making healthful lifestyle choices. Get an annual physical to inform your doctor of your symptoms as well as check your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. If you're in a GuideStone health plan, our Preventive Care Schedule will help you plan for the right healthcare services at the right time. Eligible in-network preventive care services are covered at 100%.

  • Exercise regularly to lose weight as well as improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Walking daily is a great way to take the first step. For more exercise and weight loss tips, check out the Physical Fitness and Weight Loss sections of our wellness website. And step up to the wellness plate by taking our Wellness Challenge.

  • Make healthy food choices such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean cuts of meat or poultry to also help with weight loss. Have an appetite for more healthy food choice tips? Our wellness website offers healthy eating articles.

It's easy to concentrate so much on your spiritual and mental growth that you neglect your physical health. But your physical health is just as vital to your future ministry. It takes stamina to balance the needs of a congregation, the operation of a church and your personal life. So review your risk factors and start today lowering your health risk.

While you're in-between doctor visits, keep a pulse on your state of health by taking an online health risk assessment survey.