Health Care

Heart Disease and Colon Cancer - What's the Connection?

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Envision spreading out a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle on the table. Pieces upon pieces are scattered. Looking at the complete image on the front of the puzzle box, you know that each piece somehow connects. You start by taking the most obvious ones first the outer edges. Then, slowly begin filling it in until the bigger picture comes to life.

While not as simple as a jigsaw puzzle, medical science can be thought of in the same way. Our bodies made up of trillions of cells and complex systems make up the beautiful masterpiece that we call health. But this work of art and our understanding of it is constantly evolving to present new challenges. And with time and insight, today's medical breakthroughs will shape an improved image of your health, tomorrow.

You see, uncovering the relationships between diseases inspires our hope to prevent them. And today, were talking about an important one: the connection between heart disease and colon cancer risks.

Metabolic Syndrome - The Common Link Between Heart Disease and Colon Cancer Risk

Research finds that cardiovascular disease and colon cancer (among many other types of cancer and diseases) share similar yet prevalent risk factors that are linked to metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors/conditions that, together, significantly raise the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even colon and liver cancers.

According to the American Heart Association, metabolic syndrome is generally distinguished by having three of these five metabolic risk factors:

  • Abdominal obesity or a waist circumference of greater than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
  • Triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or greater
  • HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
  • Systolic blood pressure (top number) of 130 mm Hg or greater, or diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) of 85 mm Hg or greater
  • Fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or greater

It is not surprising that the underlying causes of metabolic syndrome are also risk factors for both colon cancer and heart disease, such as overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, genetic factors and aging.

The Impact of Metabolic Syndrome

As reported in 2015 article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, metabolic syndrome affects nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults. And as the number of people with metabolic syndrome increases, there is concern that the already high incidences of colon cancer and heart disease could climb even higher.

Metabolic syndrome is associated with both a higher rate of heart disease and colon cancer risk; however, with metabolic syndrome, the most critical risk associated with morbidity (death) is heart disease.

This is concerning because the American Heart Association reports that over 92 million American adults are already living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke, with heart disease accounting for one in every three U.S. deaths. Colon cancer, making up eight percent of all cancer deaths, affects over 95,000 Americans annually according to the American Cancer Society, with even higher numbers reported when including the rates of all large bowel cancers.

Reducing Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors

One of the most important risk factors to address with metabolic syndrome is overweight and obesity. Many people experience various challenges to achieving a healthy weight, which can be medical, environmental, psychological and economical.

For this reason, many doctors recommend a medically supervised weight-loss program that develops a personalized nutrition and exercise plan for your individual needs.

At AdventHealth, we have medical, endoscopic and surgical weight loss treatment options to help all patients achieve a healthier BMI, in the way that best helps them feel whole.

Protect Your Health, Today

Understanding the link between heart disease and colon cancer is important because it's yet another discovery that connects a few more pieces to the complete picture of your health. But there are more insights to glean.

Research tells us there is a strong association between metabolic syndrome and many diseases, but the exact mechanisms from having metabolic risk factors to developing heart disease or colon cancer (as just two examples) are still unknown.

And while we wait for these details surface, we can act by being aware of metabolic syndrome and taking steps to reduce its risk factors with the hope to also prevent colon cancer, heart disease and other related diseases in the future.

Learn more about our Cancer Care here.

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