Hourglass syndrome may be the most widespread condition in the world, but most people have never heard of it.
Hourglass Syndrome affects millions of people worldwide, many of whom aren’t even aware of it as the majority of sufferers know something’s wrong with their bodies, but they don’t know how to fix it or even what to call it.
You’ve probably never heard of hourglass syndrome, but you may know someone who suffers from it—without realizing that there’s a name for their symptoms.
It has been estimated that 12% of the world’s population may suffer from Hourglass Syndrome, with around 1 million of those being in the United States alone.
In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what Hourglass Syndrome is, how you can spot its symptoms before they get out of hand and how to cure it before you run out of time
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What is An Hourglass Syndrome?
You might not have heard of hourglass syndrome, also known as pseudohypoparathyroidism or PHPT, but odds are you've seen an example of it somewhere.
Hourglass syndrome is a rare genetic condition that causes extreme thinness in arms and legs and thickens around your midsection.
Though hourglass syndrome may look like an eating disorder, it’s caused by a defect in one gene.
People with this gene defect are missing a critical protein called parathyroid hormone receptor activator (PTHRA). PTHRA is crucial for helping keep calcium levels balanced.
As such, people with hourglass syndrome often experience low levels of calcium – which makes their bones and muscles weak – as well as other health problems related to their calcium intake.
Hourglass Syndrome (HS) was first coined by Italian researchers in 2005 as Syndrome Della Figura Panciuta or Panza Figure Syndrome.
HS was named after hourglasses, which are symbols of femininity and fertility throughout history, due to their hourglass shapes.
More recently, HS has been redefined as body image disturbance related to voluptuousness but both definitions encompass some common themes.
To treat hourglass syndrome properly, physicians usually start with nutritional supplements of calcium and vitamin D followed by prescription medications for hyperparathyroidism (high levels of PTHRA) or hypoparathyroidism (low levels).
Genetic testing can help diagnose someone who has many symptoms like those described above.
What Is A Healthy Body Shape?
For many women, a healthy body is synonymous with an hourglass figure. It’s not hard to see why; we’re inundated with images of slim models and actresses who embody that coveted hourglass shape.
However, while having an hourglass shape might be considered physically attractive in our society, it can also have its downsides – especially when it comes to mental health.
That’s because some experts believe there may be a link between being too thin and suffering from an eating disorder.
And according to these experts, too much emphasis on beauty ideals that glorify thinness is partly responsible for triggering eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.
A healthy body shape is one where you feel good about yourself - but you don't need to fit into a certain mould to do so!
What Are the Symptoms of Hourglass Syndrome?
As we’ve discussed, hourglass syndrome is a psychological disorder characterized by anxiety about one’s body shape.
Though women are particularly susceptible to hourglass syndrome, it can strike anyone. Individuals with hourglass syndrome tend to have any of these symptoms:
- Obsessive thoughts about weight gain or loss
- Excessive exercising or dieting
- Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.
It's also common for those with hourglass syndrome to feel constantly self-conscious about their bodies and frequently compare themselves to others (often thin people).
For example, someone might think I look fat in that dress when they're very thin—and even more dangerously, they may try extreme measures like skipping meals or overexercising to lose weight.
In severe cases, individuals may suffer from depression due to their negative body image and unhealthy habits; if you're concerned that you may be suffering from hourglass syndrome, consider seeking help from a doctor or therapist immediately.
Can Hourglass Syndrome be Genetic?
It’s common knowledge that it’s not easy to be overweight or obese. After all, countless studies are showing how excess weight can lead to numerous health issues and raise your risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease and more.
But what about those who aren’t overweight? What about those with a healthy BMI but still feel unhappy about their body shape?
According to research from Yale University, approximately 10 per cent of Americans have Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), a condition that makes people obsess over nonexistent or minor flaws in their appearance.
This obsession is often accompanied by compulsive behaviours like excessive grooming, skin picking and reassurance seeking.
BDD is associated with anxiety disorders and depression, which often go hand-in-hand with obesity.
So why do so many people think they’re overweight when they’re not? A study published in PLOS ONE suggests that genetics may play a role—and one gene seems to stand out above all others.
What Can I Do About Hourglass Syndrome?
Women with Hourglass Syndrome can take steps to change their shape and make it less of a factor in their lives.
One of these steps is to sign up for an exercise class, specifically one that emphasizes muscle toning over weight loss.
Once you’ve signed up, set a goal for yourself – anything from simply getting more active every day to set a specific number of times per week that you will exercise.
If you have trouble sticking to your goals, enlist a friend or loved one to help keep you motivated by holding you accountable or offering gentle reminders when necessary.
You may even choose someone who has completed a fitness class before and ask them how they were able to do it on such a busy schedule – they might have some good advice!
Can Men Have Hourglass Syndrome Too?
Men can also have hourglass syndrome but it is different from women. For men, their weight loss comes mainly from muscle mass and not fat.
This results in more fat on their waist than women with hourglass syndrome. Although men are likely to experience a slimmer waist, they may be at risk of losing too much muscle mass and ultimately lower their metabolism.
This will result in them gaining weight as they age due to lower basal metabolic rate (BMR).
It’s also important to note that there are genetic factors that affect hourglass syndrome in both sexes but that research is still being conducted on these factors.
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How to treat Hourglass Syndrome
Hourglass syndrome, or hourglass disease as it is sometimes called, has been making headlines recently due to its prevalence and difficulty in diagnosis.
Research shows that an estimated 19% of women aged 18–35 suffer from hourglass syndrome, a condition characterized by an abnormally thick layer of fat in the midsection and/or arms/thighs.
To be diagnosed with hourglass syndrome, you must have what is considered to be an unhealthy ratio of fat between your waist and hips along with a BMI greater than 27.
Hourglass syndrome is difficult to treat because its causes are multifaceted—lifestyle factors like diet, exercise habits and stress levels can all contribute to its onset.
However, there are treatments available that may improve your health and help you achieve a healthy body shape.
If you think you might be suffering from hourglass syndrome, see your doctor for more information on treatment options.