Study Identifies 7 Key Health Metrics for Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths annually. Now researchers from Penn State have identified seven key health metrics to measure cardiovascular health. The 7 health metrics include 4 that are health behaviors, smoking, body weight, physical activity, and diet, and 3 that are health factors, blood pressure, plasma glucose level, and cholesterol levels.
The researchers used data from the Kailuan study, which included 74,701 adult participants with an average age of 49.6. All the participants were free of myocardial infarction, stroke, and cancer at baseline. They underwent questionnaire assessments, clinical examinations, and laboratory tests at the beginning of the study. They were followed up every two years and incidences of cardiovascular disease were recorded annually.
All the participants were given a score for each of the 7 health metrics, either 0 for poor, 1 for intermediate, or 2 for ideal. They were then given a total score range between 0 (worst) and 14 (best). The researchers used these scores to categorize the participants into 5 trajectories: low-stable, moderate-increasing, moderate-decreasing, high-stable I, and high-stable II.
The researchers found that paticipants in the high-stable II trajectory had a 79% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those in the low-stable trajectory. They also found that those who improved their cardiovascular health scores from midlife to late life had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and better cardiovascular structure and function.
The study was published on May 31, 2019 in JAMA Network Open.