In August, Veracity is celebrating our inaugural Hormone Health Awareness Month. Join the conversation at one of our virtual panel discussions throughout the month and post on social using the hashtag #ItsYourHormones.
When we think about the elements of good health, what usually comes to mind are things like blood pressure, stress level, and body mass index. Metabolic health never makes the list. But it should because this overlooked process is one of the biggest determinants of your current wellness and your outlook for living a long and healthy life, or what those in medicine call “longevity.”
The stakes are high. While many of us may feel — and look — good, one study found that only 12% of Americans were actually in good metabolic health. Out of the participants who were considered to be of “normal weight,” less than one third qualified as metabolically healthy.
But knowledge is power, as they say, and once you know that metabolic health is a major driver of wellness, the lifestyle changes you need to make to ensure you are part of that healthy minority are actually relatively simple.
Breaking Down Your Metabolic Health
While metabolic health may be a new term for many, the buzzword most of us did learn at an early age is metabolism. Though teenage talk about metabolism usually revolved around how efficiently our bodies were burning calories, this process actually concerns how your body turns anything you eat or drink into energy to fuel all your daily actions and bodily functions.
Metabolism is one part of the equation, but your metabolic function has even deeper and wider roots. This process involves everything having to do with how your body converts energy at the cellular level and how it then takes those resources and deploys them to build and repair wherever needed throughout the body. Your metabolic function is like your body’s carpenter, and your body is only as strong and efficient as its carpenter’s ability to take the available resources and use them to maintain and improve your individual parts.
To determine your metabolic health, doctors take five measurements into consideration: your waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, HDL cholesterol (or the “good” cholesterol), and triglycerides (a particular type of fat), all with one asterisk: the numbers must be within the desired range without the help of medication.
Failure to get a passing grade for your metabolic health can have a domino effect that can put you at risk for more serious issues including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and lower immune function. It can also cause skin issues (think breakouts and signs of aging), decreased energy, memory issues, mood swings, and hormone imbalances.