Key measures of heart health may help predict future risk of cardiovascular disease, according to researchers. They added that improving these measures may also help decrease the risk of CVD in the future.
The American Heart Association identified the seven health metrics as the most important predictors of heart health. They include four behaviors that people have control over and three biometrics that should be kept at healthy levels.
The modifiable behaviors include not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy and staying physically active. The biometrics are blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
Researchers have been able to identify five patterns that show how well people did or did not do on the seven health measures over time. These patterns were able to help predict participants’ future risk of CVD.
For example, people who consistently scored well in the seven metrics had a lower chance of CVD than people who did not. The researchers also found that improving these metrics over time was related to a lower risk of CVD in the future.
Each metric has a poor, intermediate or ideal score. For example, smoking regularly would be considered “poor,” smoking within the past 12 months would be “intermediate,” and never smoking or quitting more than a year ago would be “ideal.” Combining the score for all seven metrics — 0 for poor, 1 for intermediate and 2 for ideal — results in an overall “cardiovascular health score,” or CHS.
“Only about 2 percent of people in the United States and other countries meet all the ideal requirements for these seven factors. This raises the question of whether improving these metrics is related to lower future risk of CVD. It should, but no one had the data to support this idea.
Researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine reported in JAMA that the lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease is more than 50 percent for both men and women. They added that even among those with few or no cardiovascular risk factors, the risk is still more than 30 percent.
Associated factors with cardiovascular disease include;
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Radiation therapy
- Lack of sleep
- High blood cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)
- Diets that are high in fat combined with carbohydrates
- Physical inactivity
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Air pollution
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and reduced lung function
Symptoms and Preventive Measures You Can Take
There are many different types of cardiovascular disease. Symptoms will vary, depending on the specific type of disease a patient has. However, typical symptoms of an underlying cardiovascular issue include:
- Pains or pressure in the chest, which may indicate angina.
- Pain or discomfort in the arms, the left shoulder, elbows, jaw, or back.shortness of breath, also known as dyspnea.
- Nausea and fatigue.
- Light-headed or faint
- Cold sweat
Prevention will depend on the type of condition the person has. Options include;
- Lifestyle adaptations, such as weight control, exercise, quitting smoking, and dietary changes.
- Medication, for example, to reduce LDL cholesterol.
- Surgery, such as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).
- Cardiac rehabilitation, including exercise and counseling.
- Science daily