What Are Cardiometabolic Diseases?

What Are Cardiometabolic Diseases?

Cardiometabolic diseases are a group of noncommunicable chronic diseases, or chronic diseases that are not spread through infectious means but caused by lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors.1 They are one of the leading causes of premature death worldwide.2 Cardiometabolic illnesses consist of disorders marked by disturbances to the body’s biochemical metabolism.3 These include type 2 diabetes mellitus, stroke, coronary heart disease, chronic kidney disease, dyslipidemia, hypertension (ie, high blood pressure), and other cardiovascular diseases.1,2,4


What Are the Risk Factors for Cardiometabolic Diseases?

Risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases include:1,5

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Family history
  • Hypertension
  • Dysglycemia
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Smoking
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Insulin resistance
  • Inflammation
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Psychosocial stress


How Do Cardiometabolic Diseases Develop?

Cardiometabolic diseases are often characterized by abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and hypertension.6 Among various factors, obesity is thought to be one of the biggest culprits of cardiometabolic diseases.7 It is hypothesized that changes to fatty acid metabolism insult normal metabolic functions. Release of excessive fatty acids into the bloodstream can impair the action of insulin on skeletal muscle and liver, which can cause hyperglycemia, or increased blood glucose levels. This can also stimulate cholesterol production in the liver, increasing levels of triglyceride and decreasing levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) levels. Additionally, sodium reabsorption and constriction of blood vessels may be stimulated, causing elevated blood pressure.


How Can Cardiometabolic Diseases Be Prevented?  

As wide array of factors can cause cardiometabolic diseases, a range of different dietary and lifestyle changes can be implemented to prevent or lower the risk of cardiometabolic diseases.1,7 However, given the impact of obesity on the development of cardiometabolic illnesses, tackling excessive weight gain can be key to prevention. It is thought that dramatically lowering or eliminating artificial trans fatty acid consumption, reducing sodium intake and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and high-energy, low-nutrition “junk” foods are some key nutritional changes that can lower the risk of cardiometabolic diseases.1 Additionally, implementing a more active lifestyle through regular exercises, leisure-time activities, and reduced car use can lower rates of obesity and benefit cardiometabolic health. Engaging in physical activity for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week is recommended by the American Heart Association to reduce the risk of cardiometabolic diseases.2 Smoking cessation is also highly recommended for the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases.1,2 


1. Miranda JJ, Barrientos-Gutiérrez T, Corvalan C, et al. Understanding the Rise of Cardiometabolic Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Nat Med. 2019;25(11):1667-1679. doi:10.1038/s41591-019-0644-7
2. Seidu BS, Osman H, Seidu S. Lifestyle or Pharmacotherapy in Cardio-Metabolic Disease Prevention. Ther Adv Cardiovasc Dis. 2023;17:17539447231177175. doi:10.1177/17539447231177175
3. Garus-Pakowska A. Metabolic Diseases—A Challenge for Public Health in the 21st Century. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023;20(18):6789. doi:10.3390/ijerph20186789
4. Rakers M, van Hattem N, Plag S, Chavannes N, van Os HJA, Vos RC. Population Health Interventions for Cardiometabolic Diseases in Primary Care: A Scoping Review and Re-Aim Evaluation of Current Practices. Front Med. 2024;10:1275267. doi:10.3389/fmed.2023.1275267
5. Chatterjee A, Harris SB, Leiter LA, Fitchett DH, Teoh H, Bhattacharyya OK. Managing Cardiometabolic Risk in Primary Care. Can Fam Physician. 2012;58(4):389-393.
6. Kirk EP, Klein S. Pathogenesis and Pathophysiology of the Cardiometabolic Syndrome. J Clin Hypertens. 2009;11(12):761-765. doi:10.1111/j.1559-4572.2009.00054.x
7. National Academies of Sciences E, Education D of B and SS and, Statistics C on N, et al. Cardiometabolic Diseases. In: High and Rising Mortality Rates Among Working-Age Adults. National Academies Press (US); 2021. Accessed March 28, 2024. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK571925/



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