Obesity-related CVD risk lowered by reducing BP, cholesterol, glucose

Interventions that decrease hypertension, serum cholesterol and glucose levels may reduce overweight or obese patients’ risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to research published in The Lancet.

Hypertension, serum cholesterol and blood glucose account for up to half of the increased risk for CVD and three-quarters of the increased risk for stroke among this patient population, according to a press release.

“Our results show that the harmful effects of being overweight or obese 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 being overweight or obese,” Goodarz Danaei, MD, assistant professor of global health at Harvard School of Public Health, said in a press release.

The researchers collected data from 97 prospective cohort studies that included 1.8 million patients between 1948 and 2005 (>18 years; BMI >20), including those with coronary heart disease (n=57,161) and stroke events (n=31,093).

Researchers found a risk for CHD (HR=1.27; 95% CI, 1.23-1.31) and for stroke (HR=1.18; 95% CI, 1.14-1.22) for each 5 kg/m2 higher BMI score.

These data suggest that 46% (95% CI, 42-50) of the increased risk of BMI accounts for CHD, and 76% (95% CI, 65%-91%) of the increased risk for stroke is due to these metabolic factors, researchers wrote.

However, BP was the most significant factor (31%; 95% CI, 28-35) for CHD and stroke (65%; 95% CI, 56-75), according to data.

Overweight (50%; 95% CI, 44-58) and obesity (44%; 95% CI, 41-48) were tied to a significantly increased risk for CHD and stroke compared with patients of normal weight, researchers wrote.

“Controlling hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes through medication is useful, but not enough to offset the harms of overweight and obesity. So we need to need to find creative approaches that can curb and reverse the global obesity epidemic,” Majid Ezzati, PhD, of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said in the release.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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