Cardio Metabolic Syndrome

What is Cardio Metabolic Syndrome?

  • Having heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and/or diabetes or any of their precursors in combination is called metabolic syndrome.
  • It begins with high cholesterol starting as early as the 20s, being increasingly overweight, especially around the middle, having high blood pressure, showing symptoms of insulin resistance, followed by having a heart attack or a stroke. 
  • In Georgia, between one in three and one in two adults are at risk of or have metabolic syndrome:
    • Obesity rose 9% in adults between 2011 and 2013 in Georgia.
    • Heart disease and diabetes together are the leading cause of premature death in Georgia.
    • Together they cause more than 23,000 deaths a year in our state and more than 150,000 years of potential life are lost per year as a result of these two diseases.
    • Costing us as a state billions of dollars a year—close to nine billion, and 600 million in missed days at work.

Risks Associated With Having All Three Diseases

  • You are at risk if you are overweight, use tobacco, have uncontrolled high blood pressure, or have ever had abnormal blood sugars.
  • If you can get to age 50 without any of these risk factors, your lifetime risk of a heart attack or stroke for men is about 5%, and for women it’s 8%.
  • But, if you have two or more of these risk factors at age 50—
    • For men, your chances of dying of a heart attack or stroke are almost 14 times higher than someone who has no risk factors.  So for men, behavior makes a huge difference.
    • For women, your risk is about 8 times higher than a woman who makes it to age 50 without any of the risk factors, which is still a lot.
  • Even just one of these risk factors increases your risk:
    • Men with one risk factor are 10 times as likely to die of a heart attack or stroke.
    • Women with one risk factor are about 5 times as likely as someone with none to die of a heart attack or stroke.
    • Persons with diabetes at age 50 have the greatest risk of dying of a heart attack.
    • Smoking alone doubles your risk of dying of a  heart attack, although smokers are more likely to die of cancers before they have a heart attack or stroke.

What Can People Do To Reduce the Likelihood of Obesity, Hypertension, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke?

  • Remember the ABCDE’S:
    • A—Asprin
      • If  you don’t have  any other risk factors and you are over 40, talk with your doctor about the benefits of taking a daily asprin.
    • B—Blood pressure
      • Know your numbers.  
      • Have your blood pressure checked regularly. 
      • There are a lot of places where you can have it checked—fire departments, community centers, churches, pharmacies and sometimes even grocery stores.  High blood pressure is a silent killer. 
      • If you have two or more readings of 140/90, you have uncontrolled high blood pressure and need to see a doctor regularly.
    • C—Cholesterol
      • Have your cholesterol checked.  If it isn’t normal, talk with your doctor about starting on a statin. 
      • Although there are differences for men and women and important considerations for diabetics, the research says you get the most benefit from that initial placement on a drug that can help protect your blood vessels.
    • D—Diabetes and pre-diabetes 
      • Have your blood sugar checked, and if you have diabetes or are at risk, check your A1C.
      • Pre-diabetes is a condition before you need insulin where you have abnormal blood sugars.  If this is you, you can slow or stop the progression to diabetes with diet and physical activity. 
      • If you have diabetes or abnormal blood sugar, enroll in a self-management program, like the Diabetes Prevention Program or Diabetes Self-Management Education programs.  Some insurance companies, including Medicare, cover some of these programs.
    • E— Eat Right and Be Active
      • Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and reduce the amount of sugar and salt you consume. 
      • Most people get more than the daily allowance of salt just through processed foods.  Just never pick up the salt shaker.
      • And, there is sugar hidden in almost everything.  Sugar leads to inflammation and challenges your pancreas, which causes diabetes. 
      • The easy way to cut out the junk is to fill half your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables.  
    • S—Smoking 
      • Along with causing cancers, smoking is hard on your heart, hardens your blood vessels and makes your pancreas work too hard. 

If you use tobacco products, Quit Now.  Call the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line: 1-877-270-STOP. 

Risk Calculators

Cardiovascular Risk Assessment Tool for Your 10-Year Risk of Having a Heart Attack or Stroke

Heart Attack and Stroke Risk Calculator

Type II Diabetes Risk

Additional Resources

CMS Risk Calculator Article

Million Hearts