CKM Syndrome: 90% of US Adults at Risk of Heart Disease

A study shows that 90% of American adults are at risk of developing cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic (CKM) syndrome. A study published in JAMA has unveiled statistics regarding the CKM syndrome among adults in the United States. Conducted over nearly a decade, the research analyzed data from over 10,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

CKM Syndrome: 90% of US Adults at Risk of Heart Disease

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The study is conducted by a team of researchers analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) examined the health profiles of over 10,000 adults spanning nearly a decade.

Their findings reveal a concerning trend of escalating risk factors for heart disease, kidney dysfunction, and metabolic disorders.

One of the revelations from the study is the high prevalence of CKM syndrome across all age groups defying assumptions about the health of younger adults.

Contrary to expectations, nearly 50% of participants were classified at stage 2 of CKM syndrome, indicating a moderate risk due to factors such as high blood sugar, hypertension, high cholesterol, or chronic kidney disease.

Even more concerning is the fact that only 18% of individuals aged 20 to 44 were to have no risk factors. The study shows the disproportionate burden of CKM syndrome borne by certain demographic groups with older adults, men, and Black individuals facing risks.

Approximately 15% of participants exhibited advanced stages of the syndrome, a figure that remained consistent over the study period.

This advanced disease underlines the urgent need for targeted interventions to arrest its progression and prevent life-threatening complications such as heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes.

Dr. Rahul Aggarwal, a cardiology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and co-author of the study expressed surprise at the findings.

He pointed to obesity as a primary driver of CKM syndrome, citing statistics that reveal 40% of Americans are obese and 32% are overweight.

Dr. Sripal Bangalore, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health said these concerns addressing the urgent need to tackle the root causes of overweight and obesity.

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He also said the potential impact of reducing obesity rates on tackling the progression of CKM syndrome and reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease on public health.

The inclusion of kidney disease in the risk assessment for cardiovascular disease was hailed as a step forward by experts such as Dr. Adriana Hung, a kidney specialist and epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. Hung addressed the symbiotic relationship between kidney disease and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Robert Rosenson, director of lipids and metabolism at the Mount Sinai Health System, addressed the implications of the study’s findings noting that unhealthy behaviors accumulate over a lifetime, impacting both quality of life and survival.

He cautioned against overlooking the cognitive effects of unhealthy lifestyles and addressing the impact of diet and exercise on overall health and well-being.

The findings, led by Dr. Rahul Aggarwal, a cardiology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and his team, show the interconnected web of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease.

The study introduces CKM syndrome, a systemic disorder affecting major organs, including the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys, and categorizes individuals into stages ranging from zero to four, each indicating degrees of risk and manifestation of the syndrome.

The study highlights the concerning distribution of CKM syndrome stages among different demographic groups. While individuals over 65 years old were more likely to be at advanced stages of CKM syndrome, it is important to have closer look that even younger adults particularly those aged 20 to 44, exhibited risk factors.

Only 18% of individuals in this age group were categorized as stage zero. With obesity affecting 40% of the U.S. population and contributing to metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors.

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