How good is your cardiometabolic health — and what is that, anyway? – Harvard Health

How good is your cardiometabolic health — and what is that, anyway? – Harvard Health

How good is your cardiometabolic health — and what is that, anyway? Heart attack and stroke, two forms of cardiovascular disease, are leading causes of death in the US. Risk factors include a family history of cardiovascular disease, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Excess weight increases the chances that several of these risk factors will develop. Do you have optimal cardiovascular health? And have you minimized your risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease in the future? Unfortunately, research suggests not many people in the US can answer yes to these questions. Your cardiovascular system includes your heart, blood, and blood vessels. Cardiometabolic health is a term that refers to a combination of many of these risk factors. To estimate how many people in the US have optimal cardiometabolic health, researchers publishing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology analyzed survey results from more than 55,000 adults in the US. Optimal measures were defined as all five of the following: The study found that, as of 2018, just 6.8% of the US population had optimal cardiometabolic health. That’s less than one out of every 14 people! And good cardiometabolic health may be even rarer now than this study suggests: these data were collected before the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is evidence that physical activity decreased and unhealthy habits increased during pandemic lockdowns. When studies find Americans are failing on health measures and that health disparities exist between different populations, it’s easy to become discouraged. But this can also be a personal call to action. Avoiding a heart attack or stroke would seem well worth it. Think about your own cardiometabolic health. Could it be better? Small, manageable steps and a discussion with your doctor can help you move toward your goals. Improving cardiometabolic health can be difficult to do on your own. Talk to your doctor about what steps to take and how best to monitor your progress. Based on the findings in this research, few of us are doing enough to prevent the suffering and death caused by heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiometabolic disorders, especially among certain groups. The good news is that much of the risk of cardiometabolic disease is under our control. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it. As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more. Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss…from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.
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