When you eat, digestive chemicals in your body break down the food into energy. This process is known as metabolism. A metabolic disorder happens when something goes wrong with your metabolism and affects the substances your body needs to stay healthy, such as cholesterol or calcium.
Some metabolic disorders, including high cholesterol and obesity, are very common. At Mercy, our physicians care for patients with metabolic disorders every day. We're experts at identifying the cause of the problem and taking the right steps to correct it.
Lipid disorders affect how your body makes and uses cholesterol, which is a type of fat in the blood. There are two types of cholesterol: HDL (“good cholesterol”) and LDL (“bad cholesterol”). A lipid disorder can lead to problems such as very high total cholesterol levels, very low HDL cholesterol levels, and/or high triglycerides, another type of blood fat. Any of these can raise your risk for heart disease.
Your doctor can check your cholesterol with a blood test. Often, lipid disorders are inherited, but starting treatment early can help protect your health.
Osteoporosis is a common type of metabolic bone disorder that causes loss of bone mass and density, which makes bones weak and more likely to break.
A bone density test called a DEXA scan uses low-radiation X-rays to measure your bone health. If you do have osteoporosis, your doctor may recommend a treatment plan with medications to increase bone density, as well as weight-bearing exercise to help build bone strength.
Everybody needs a small amount of body fat to be healthy. However, some people have too much body fat, which can put their health at risk. This is called obesity, and it is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.
Obesity is a contributing factor in many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and others. Fortunately, losing weight can help improve or reverse many of these conditions, and enhance overall health and well-being.
Genetics and metabolic factors may contribute to obesity in some people, but that doesn’t prevent them from successfully losing weight. Mercy physicians know that weight loss can be challenging, and you may have tried numerous diets that didn’t work. We’ll partner with you to develop a realistic, personalized weight loss plan that fits your lifestyle and gets results. We’ve helped many people achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reduce their risk of related diseases, and we’ll do the same for you.
Many metabolic disorders can be successfully treated by making the right changes to your diet. Mercy’s dietitians in our medical nutrition therapy (MNT) program specialize in evaluating patient's nutritional needs and developing individualized programs to treat your condition, improve your health and adopt healthier habits for life.