October 09, 2020
2 min read
Glazer MD. The greatest threat. Presented at: American Academy of Optometry meeting; October 7-22, 2020; virtual meeting.
Glazer reports no relevant financial disclosures.
Mark D. Glazer, MD, addressed the audience of this year’s virtual American Academy of Optometry meeting plenary session, defining the risk for cardiovascular disease among both men and women and the steps to prevent the leading cause of mortality in the U.S.
“I’d like to start by asking you a question you’ve likely never been asked before: What do you consider the greatest threat to the health of optometrists?” Glazer, assistant professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said during his presentation. “The responses I often get are weight, diet or lack of exercise. It turns out that the greatest threat to not only optometrists but all Americans is cardiovascular disease. In fact, the threat from cardiovascular disease is greater than cancer and chronic lung disease combined.”
Glazer noted that cardiovascular disease has been “the No. 1 killer of men and women every year since 1900 except for one year — 1918, the year of the great flu pandemic.”
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), CVD includes hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke. Based on this definition, Glazer said, the prevalence of CVD among adults older than 20 years was 51.2% in men and 44.7% in women between 2013 and 2016.
Prevalence was highest in black men (60.1%) and women (57.1%); followed by white (50.6%), Hispanic (49%) and Asian men (47.4%); and white (43.4%), Hispanic (42.6%) and Asian women (37.2%).
The incidence of acute myocardial infarction, according to Glazer, is expected to be 805,000 this year in the U.S. Of those, 170,000 cases will be “silent or painless, which means the patient experiencing the MI didn’t even know they had one,” he said.
Glazer then offered “some positive news” with the Life’s Simple 7 concept introduced by the AHA. This includes four health behaviors — diet quality, physical activity, smoking and BMI — and three health factors —cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose.
“Evidence suggests that 80% of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented through not smoking, eating a healthy diet, maintaining physical activity and a healthy weight, and especially managing diabetes,” Glazer said. “I would suggest each of you see your primary care physician and get your fasting blood sugar and your fasting lipid profile. Work with your primary care physician to modify your risk of getting cardiovascular disease, so that maybe in the coming years something other than cardiovascular disease will be your greatest threat.”