Online Tool Could Predict Metabolic Risk Better Than Your Doctor

| May 3, 2017

Doctors normally assess a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes by looking for five factors – obesity, high blood pressure, high blood fats, low HDL (good) cholesterol and high fasting blood sugar. People with three or more of these indicators are diagnosed as having metabolic syndrome.

But this method of predicting metabolic risk could fail to identify some people at increased risk, if their readings are marginally within the “normal” range. And it takes no account of gender or racial type, both of which can make a difference to cardiovascular risks.1 But now, an online metabolic calculator developed at the University of Florida could give much more accurate, personalised metabolic risk results.

Instead of giving a “yes or no” result, the calculator gives you a plus or minus number that shows exactly how your metabolic risk and cardiovascular risks compare with those of the average person. This is perhaps the only drawback to this diagnostic tool, because “average” doesn’t necessarily mean healthy!

The information that the calculator requires is simple – adolescent or adult, male or female, ethnicity (3 choices) and, for adults, waist measurement and test results for blood triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure and fasting blood glucose. Then just click on “calculate” and you get a “z-score” showing where you are on the risk spectrum. A percentile figure also shows how you compare with the population in general.

The calculator has already gone live on the internet here. Further studies are under way to check its accuracy and refine it further – and hopefully it will be adapted for use in other countries, since it is currently based on US ethnic groups and risk data.

This simple tool could help doctors and patients interpret blood test results in a meaningful way and track changes in an individual’s level of risk over time. One question the new calculator doesn’t ask is whether or not you eat meat. I look into a possible link between meat-eating and type 2 diabetes in my next blog post.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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1. DeBoer MD, Gurka MJ, Golden SH et al. Independent associations between metabolic syndrome severity and future coronary heart disease by sex and race. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017; 69(9):1204-1205.

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Category: Diabetes Risks

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