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Here’s to Your Health: Could the Answer to Improving Metabolic Health Be Attached to Your Foot?

BY STACEY LENNOX

 

The COVID-19 pandemic motivated many Americans to improve their personal health. Early in the Dapandemic, it became evident that obesity and chronic illnesses put people at higher risk for severe illness from the virus. The response to the virus also made some Americans skeptical of our public health agencies and wary of Big Pharma. Here’s to Your Health is a weekly column intended to present new research that readers interested in improving their health and wellness can explore.

Metabolic health refers to a cluster of bodily functions where abnormalities can cause chronic illness. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or elevated triglyceride levels. When a person suffers from several of these chronic conditions at the same time, they may meet the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Metabolic Syndrome increases a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These three diagnoses are some of the most expensive and treatment-intensive diseases in America. However, researchers at the University of Houston (UH) may have found a special muscle in the body that can help regulate blood sugar and blood lipids when properly stimulated.

Your calf muscle, technically named the soleus, is the muscle on the back of the lower half of your leg. It makes up less than one percent of your total body mass and has some special characteristics. It has a large percentage of slow oxidative fibers and requires less effort to use for longer periods of time and intensity.

 

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