Online Calculator Accurately Predicts Risk for Heart Disease and Diabetes

Last year, we reported on an online tool developed with the aim of more accurately assessing young patients’ risk for metabolic syndrome. A large new study reveals that tool has great potential in predicting metabolic syndrome (MetS) in adults as well.

The “metabolic crystal ball,” developed by UVA pediatric endocrinologist Mark DeBoer, MD and biostatistician Matthew Gurka, PhD, from the University of Florida, provides differing weights for the traditional risk factors (obesity, high blood pressure, high fasting triglycerides, low HDL (good) cholesterol and high fasting blood sugar) and also takes into account race, gender and ethnicity to produce an easy-to-understand metabolic severity score. A small study previously found that the online calculator’s predictions lined up well with actual cases of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and a large new study builds on these findings: The study looked, retroactively, at outcomes in more than 13,000 people and found that DeBoer and Gurka’s tool was a better risk predictor than the individual risk factors alone. “Compared to those in the lowest 25 percent of MetS severity, those in the highest 25 percent of metabolic syndrome severity were four times as likely to develop future cardiovascular disease and 17 times as likely to develop future diabetes,” says DeBoer.

Read more about the study findings in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Diabetologia.