Study finds these seven metrics predict future heart disease risk

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Though it’s impossible to know whether any given person will end up developing cardiovascular disease later in life, there are known factors and lifestyle decisions that increase the risk. Knowing whether you’re at a higher risk of developing a heart health issue makes it possible to take preventative steps, and here to help with that is a new study detailing seven ‘key’ prediction metrics.

The study comes from Penn State, where researchers identified seven metrics — four of which are behaviors that one can easily modify — that influence one’s cardiovascular health and potentially negatively influence future heart disease risk. Researcher found five different patterns related to the seven health metrics that could help predict an individual’s future odds of developing heart disease.

The seven metrics that are involved in the prediction are:

– Body weight
– Smoking status
– Diet
– Physical activity levels
– Blood pressure
– Cholesterol
– Blood sugar

The study explains that each metric has a possible ‘poor,’ ‘intermediate,’ or ‘ideal’ score, such as someone having an ‘ideal’ blood sugar rating but a ‘poor’ level of physical activity. It’s fairly obvious what each rating would apply to, though in some cases they refer to a specific duration.

For example, a rating of ‘intermediate’ would be given to someone who had smoked at some point in the past year, but a ‘poor’ rating would only be given to someone who smoked regularly. A score would be given for each metric (0 for poor, 1, for intermediate, and 2 for ideal), then all seven would be added up for an overall ‘cardiovascular health score.’

Sadly, according to the researchers, only approximately 2-percent of people reach the ‘ideal’ rating on all seven metrics. During the study, the researchers found that people who scored high across all seven categories had lower risks of developing cardiovascular disease compared to people with lower scores. Individuals who improved their scores over time were found to have similar decreases in cardiovascular disease risk.

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