What is cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic syndrome?

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2023

When the body is functioning at its best, all the different parts work collaboratively. So, it makes sense that when one part of the body isn’t working optimally, it can also impact other parts of the body. That’s the case with the recently coined cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic syndrome.

The American Heart Association (AHA) in October released what’s known as a “presidential advisory,” identifying a new medical condition that ties together obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease. The advisory about cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic syndrome, abbreviated as CKM, highlights the fact that conditions affecting different parts of the body are connected by common—and prevalent—risk factors.

Wondering whether you’re at risk of CKM? Keep reading to learn the details.

What’s the connection between cardiovascular, kidney, and metabolic risks?

According to the advisory, “a growing appreciation of the pathophysiological interrelatedness of metabolic risk factors such as obesity and diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease has led to the conceptualization of cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic syndrome.”

What does that actually mean, though? In layman’s terms, it means that many Americans have risk factors that put them at a higher risk of all these conditions. In fact, 1-in-3 American adults have three or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and metabolic disorders.

Those risk factors include:

  • Excess weight
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • High cholesterol/triglycerides

Because these conditions share risk factors, drawing them together as one condition will allow medical providers to help patients manage those risk factors and lower the risk of serious health issues, including heart attack and stroke.

What can I do to prevent cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic syndrome?

There are many steps you can take to lower your risk of this syndrome specifically and to protect your overall health. Start by visiting a medical provider for a checkup, if it has been a while since you had one.

Regular checkups allow your medical provider to gather important information about your health through routine lab work and other tests. Your blood pressure and weight can be checked quickly at a medical visit, and blood work can show your glucose (blood sugar), cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

Once you know your health numbers, take a look at your habits to see what you can improve. Exercising for at least 150 minutes each week, eating a largely plant-based diet low in saturated fat and sodium, getting enough quality sleep, not smoking, limiting your alcohol consumption, and finding healthy ways to manage stress can all help lower the risk of health conditions affecting your heart, your kidneys, and your entire body.

If you have diabetes, you may also benefit from working with a team of experts with knowledge about metabolic health issues. More than 30 percent of those with Type 2 diabetes also have heart disease, and many others have heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure. Cardiometabolic therapy collaboratively manages and treats both conditions, lowering the risk of serious health issues.

The bottom line? Developing cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic syndrome—or any of the individual conditions it includes—is not inevitable. You can control many of the risk factors, and your health will thank you.

Learn more

The Center for Cardiovascular Prevention, Metabolism and Lipids at Georgia Heart Institute offers comprehensive programs to manage cardiometabolic health. Call 678- 928-5942 to learn more about how we can help.