With heart disease and stroke on the rise worldwide, researchers are scrambling to identify the major risk factors to help address prevention. Controlling these three factors can cut the risk in half!
A recent study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that there are three major factors that contribute to decreasing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
By keeping blood pressure under control, maintaining a healthy serum cholesterol and managing blood glucose levels, the risk of heart disease can be drastically reduced.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, was seen as the biggest risk factor, and the risk increased for those with obesity—especially the risk of stroke.
Goodarz Danaei, HSPH, explains, "Our results show that the harmful effects of overweight and obesity on heart disease and stroke partly occur by increasing blood pressure, serum cholesterol and blood glucose. Therefore, if we control these risk factors, for example through better diagnosis and treatment of hypertension, we can prevent some of the harmful effects of overweight and obesity."
Because the prevalence of worldwide obesity has increased two-fold in the past three decades, researchers are actively seeking strategies to battle heart disease. With more than 1.4 billion adults around the world falling into the category of obese, this is a serious global health concern.
The leading causes of death in the world are cardiovascular disease and stroke, with diabetes and cancer coming in close behind. Nearly 3-½ billion deaths per year worldwide are attributed to obesity.
This recent study examined nearly 100 studies conducted worldwide, involving approximately 1.8 million people. Researchers examined the three major factors named, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, and found that these three factors contribute to nearly 50% of the cardiac disease diagnosed.
Nearly 75% of stroke patients had all three factors, as well as obesity. Hypertension was responsible for nearly a third of all cases of heart disease, and nearly 2/3 of the stroke risk for obese participants.
Says Majid Ezzati, one of the authors of the study, "Controlling hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes will be an essential but partial and temporary response to the obesity epidemic. As we use these effective tools, we need to find creative approaches that can curb and reverse the global obesity epidemic."
Staying healthy involves many factors, and the most important of those factors are controlling blood pressure, controlling cholesterol levels and managing blood glucose effectively.
When these three things are accomplished, the risk of cardiovascular disease, and obesity, is significantly lessened.
Image courtesy of koko-tewan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net