Tai Chi May Be a Cost-effective Way to Reduce Risks
for the Metabolic Syndrome
September 2008 - Metabolic syndrome is a
group of conditions that put people at risk for heart disease and diabetes.
These conditions include high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, high
levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in blood), low levels of HDL (the good
cholesterol in blood), and too much fat around the waist.
of metabolic syndrome might be insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone your
body produces to help you turn sugar from food into energy for your body. If
you are insulin resistant, too much sugar builds up in your blood, setting the
stage for disease.
disease risk rises sharply with menopause, likely due to the coincident
increase in insulin resistance and related atherogenic changes that together
comprise the metabolic or insulin resistance syndrome, a cluster of metabolic
and hemodynamic abnormalities strongly implicated in the pathogenesis and
progression of cardiovascular disease.
to some researchers from Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative
Therapies, University of Virginia Health Systems, a growing body of research
suggests that traditional mind-body practices such as yoga, Tai Chi, and qigong
may offer safe and cost-effective strategies for reducing insulin resistance
syndrome-related risk factors for cardiovascular disease in older populations,
including postmenopausal women. They think current evidence suggests that these
practices may reduce insulin resistance and related physiological risk factors
for cardiovascular disease; improve mood, well-being, and sleep; decrease
sympathetic activation; and enhance cardiovagal function. However, they also
pointed out that additional rigorous studies are needed to confirm existing
findings and to examine long-term effects on cardiovascular health.