Researchers in Virginia have developed a new test that could predict the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes for teenagers, according to new research.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital, works by judging the individual’s metabolic syndrome status.
Unlike other such tests, which tend to have disparate results because of sex and ethnicity, this test provides results that are specifically tailored to those factors.
Creating the test
The researchers used data of children with an average age of 12.9 years who had been evaluated at the Cincinnati Clinic of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Lipids Research Clinic (LRC) between 1973-1976.
They looked at BMI, blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and fasting triglyceride levels.
The same children were re-evaluated for type 2 diabetes and heart disease in 1998-2003, with an average age of 38.4. In 2010-2014, they were evaluated once more, when the average age was 49.6 years.
Based on the data, they were able to create a test that predicts a teenager’s future risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
“The current study was targeted at using that metabolic syndrome severity score on data from individuals who were children in the ’70s to see if it correlated with their risk on developing CVD and type 2 diabetes later in life,” explained Dr. Mark DeBoer, lead author of the study.
The unique thing about the test, according to the researchers, is that it can assess changes in metabolic severity. Other tests are able only to decide whether or not someone has metabolic syndrome at that particular time. The test proved highly accurate in studies.
A preventative measure
The researchers believe that the test could be the start of more advanced preventative measures for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, writing: “We are hopeful that this score can be used to assess the baseline risk for adolescents regarding metabolic syndrome and their risk for future disease and use it as a motivator for individuals to try to change their risk so that they may have a healthier diet, engage in more physical activity or get medication to reduce their metabolic syndrome severity and their future risk for disease.”
The findings were published in Diabetologia and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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