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Oct 23, 2018

Fluctuations in Weight, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Spell Trouble for Heart Health

Maintaining good health reduces risk for heart attack, stroke and death, shows Korean study of 6.7 million adults.

Fluctuations in health could spell trouble for future heart risks, based on a Korean study that found changes in weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar are associated with increased risk for heart attack, stroke and death. Findings were published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. The study highlights the importance of maintaining good health over time.

Using data from the Korean National Health Insurance system, this study explored the impact of changes in key markers of health over a seven-year period. The analysis included more than 6.7 million adults, all of which were free of conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol at the start of the study.

The goal of the study was to see whether adults whose health fluctuates over time have greater heart risks than those who are steadier.

Participants were followed for a median of 5.5 years, during which time they underwent at least three exams to assess their health. During the study, researchers focused on changes in four key markers of health including weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

Overall, less than one percent of participants experienced heart attack or stroke during the study period, and there were a total of 54,785 deaths.

Analysis showed that participants with the greatest level of fluctuation in the four markers of health had 41% greater risk of stroke and 43% greater risk of heart attack compared to those with the least fluctuation. Researchers also found that high fluctuation in these markers more than doubled risk of death compared to participants whose health markers remained steady.

The analysis took into account factors like age, sex, smoking, income and activity levels, all of which can impact health outcomes.

The take-home message, according to authors, is the importance of maintaining good and steady health over time. It’s well known that factors like weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar are closely linked to heart health. Keeping these numbers in check can greatly reduce risk for heart disease—the No. 1 killer of Americans. It can also prevent chronic disease and promote better health.

However, maintaining good health is often easier said than done. Just like weight changes over time, so can factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. Thus, it’s important to keep an eye on these factors and keep them in check, especially if they start to change.

The good news is that a healthy diet and exercise can go a long way in maintaining good health over time. For individuals who experience fluctuations in factors like weight and blood pressure, it’s important to work with a doctor to address these issues and maintain good health.

Questions for You to Consider

  • At what age should I worry about heart disease?
  • Risk factors that lead to heart disease often develop slowly over time and can take decades to develop. That’s why it’s important to make healthy lifestyle choices like eating healthystaying active and maintaining a healthy weight, at all stages in life. As an adult, it’s especially important to work closely with your doctor to monitor key risk factors and address any risk factors to reduce risk for heart disease.

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