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Published: 2023-08-26

Unique findings on risk factors behind cardiovascular disease

NEWS Data from 1.5 million people in 34 countries gives the risk of five lifestyle factors for cardiovascular disease. Data is included from the MONICA study in northern Sweden, which is led by Professor Stefan Söderberg, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University.

The five lifestyle factors associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke) are high cholesterol and high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, and smoking.
In the international collaboration Global Cardiovascular Risk Consortium, data has been collected and compiled from 34 countries on all continents; a total of 112 population surveys with 1.5 million participants. A total of 57% of all cardiovascular disease incidence in women is due to these five lifestyle factors with some variation between continents. The corresponding figure for men is 52%. The proportions for death from cardiovascular disease are 22% and 19%, respectively.

Prevent illness and death

In summary, about half of all heart attacks and strokes and a fifth of all premature deaths could be prevented if these five risk factors were controlled. The results will be presented at the European Heart Congress in Amsterdam on August 26 and at the same time in the New England Journal of Medicine, where Stefan Söderberg is one of the co-authors.
- The five risk factors were known, but the risk of illness and death they represent was not, however. There are previous studies, but they are based on much worse technology, says Söderberg.
One question is whether there are precedents in research history with as many as 1.5 million participants.
- It does, but not with follow-up on all continents. This follow-up is unique, says Stefan Söderberg.

About the MONICA survey

Northern Sweden's MONICA survey was initiated by the World Health Organization WHO and began as an international survey of cardiovascular diseases. The basic part consists of recurring population surveys in Västerbotten and Norrbotten approximately every 5 years.
In these surveys, 2,500 randomly selected people between the ages of 25 and 74 are invited to participate in a health survey. This includes measurements of blood pressure and cholesterol, height, weight, hip and waist measurements, as well as blood samples that are stored in Biobanken Norr. Smoking, snuff, diabetes, glucose load, exercise habits and social risk factors for cardiovascular disease are also investigated.

Contact Stefan Söderberg

stefan.soderberg@umu.se

070-319 38 03