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90% of adults have this newly defined syndrome

If you’re an adult, chances are you have some degree of cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic syndrome (CKM). In fact, a new study found that 9 out of 10 adults have stage 1 CKM or higher.

The American Heart Association (AHA) created this new classification to address the overlap between heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and obesity. These health conditions often negatively synergize with one another and have similar risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, being overweight and chronic kidney disease.

“CKM is a cutting-edge concept that is not yet widely known or accepted among primary care physicians and patients,” explains Dr. Prentiss Taylor, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Health Care. “CKM is not a diagnosis, but a framework to understand and address the common and complex conditions that affect millions of people.”

Stage 0 means you don’t have any risk factors. Stage 1 through 4 indicate you have at least one risk factor.

There are ways to prevent and even reverse CKM.

Experts recommend following a Mediterranean diet, which is low in harmful saturated fats and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts and olive oil,” says Dr. Taylor. “The AHA also advises getting regular exercise, at least 150 minutes a week. This can be moderate, like walking, or vigorous – depending on the person’s preference and ability.”

Aside from diet and exercise, he also recommends that you avoid anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, if you have kidney disease.

Your doctor may also prescribe popular medications known to manage high blood sugar, blood pressure and/or cholesterol. Some of these medications may also reduce your risk for kidney and heart diseases.

“Social determinants/factors of health can get in the way of preventing and treating these health conditions,” explains Dr. Taylor. “Asking your primary care clinician for resources can help you get full access to care, such as healthy food and housing – all of which, according to the AHA, play into this overall concept of CKM.”

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