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Health Spotlight: A new type of heart disease

Health Spotlight: A new type of heart disease

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Health officials are redefining heart disease — announcing the development of cardio-kidney-metabolic syndrome, or CKM. One in three people are at risk of developing it. It’s not a new disease, but a new way of thinking about how existing conditions affect one another and how we should be treating them.

“I have this syndrome,” said J. Thomas Heywood, MD, an advanced heart failure specialist at Scripps Clinic. “I was kind of sad that I did.”

Heywood looks at hearts all day long and never thought he would be taking a close look at his own. He says, “I have high blood pressure. I have, my weight could be better. I don’t have any cardiovascular disease, but I have some of the beginning parts of this and probably a hundred million people in the United States have some degree of this.”

He is talking about Cardio-Kidney-Metabolic syndrome or CKM. It is an overlap between kidney disease, metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

“This is, actually, a healthcare emergency that we don’t treat these things in isolation, but we treat them together.” said Heywood.

It’s a new way of thinking about the domino effect that just one health problem can have on your entire body.

Heywood explains, “Obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, renal problems all come together to make each other worse. They’re like a dysfunctional family, and when they’re all together, they really make things worse, and they tremendously reduce life expectancy for patients.”

CKM syndrome ranges from stage zero, or no risk factors, to stage four with cardiovascular disease and kidney failure. Heywood believes naming this CKM syndrome is as much for doctors as it is for their patients.

“I think it’s a call to action to all of us to look at the patient more holistically and address more of their problems.” said Heywood.

And by doctors working together, hopefully patients will get an earlier diagnosis and life-saving treatment.

Heywood believes this is just the beginning for CKM and soon there will be doctors specializing in this syndrome.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.