Cardiovascular disease and modifiable cardiometabolic risk factors

Clin Cornerstone. 2007;8(3):11-28. doi: 10.1016/s1098-3597(07)80025-1.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States and many parts of the world. Potentially modifiable risk factors for CVD include tobacco use, physical inactivity, hypertension, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and a cluster of interrelated metabolic risk factors. Over the last several decades, efforts to prevent or treat CVD risk factors have resulted in significantly lower rates of CVD-related mortality. However, many patients never achieve adequate control of CVD risk factors even when these factors have been identified. In addition, the growing prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) threatens to undermine the improvements in CVD that have been achieved. In the United States, approximately two thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and even modest excess body weight is associated with a significantly increased risk of CVD-related mortality. Lifestyle interventions to promote weight loss reduce the risk of CVD-related illness but are difficult for patients to sustain over long periods of time. The increased incidence of obesity has also contributed to significant increases in the prevalence of other important CVD risk factors, including hypertension, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and type 2 DM. Pharmacologic therapies are currently available to address individual CVD risk factors, and others are being evaluated, including endocannabinoid receptor antagonists, inhibitors of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor subtypes alpha and gamma, and several agents that modulate the activity of glucagon-like peptide-1. The new agents have the potential to significantly improve several CVD risk factors with a single medication and may provide clinicians with several new strategies to reduce the long-term risk of CVD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular System / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Dyslipidemias / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology