Blog/Discover the Cardiovascular Benefits of Semaglutide
Jennie Sanford, MD | 5/16/2024 | 3 min read

Discover the Cardiovascular Benefits of Semaglutide

How semaglutide could help improve your heart health

older man measuring his blood pressure at home

Semaglutide is a new and promising treatment for diabetes and obesity. But its benefits actually extend beyond blood glucose control and weight management! Semaglutide and other glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists offer significant cardiovascular metabolic benefits. We will discuss the full spectrum of benefits you could get from semaglutide, including better heart health, improved metabolic health and reduced risk of dementia.

What is semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that is approved to treat diabetes mellitus and obesity. Semaglutide binds to glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors to increase the positive effects of GLP-1. 

GLP-1 is a neuroendocrine hormone produced in the intestines in response to food intake. It increases weight loss and decreases blood glucose by directing it to organs and tissues for use as energy. GLP-1 promotes weight loss by slowing gastric emptying, enhancing fullness, reducing appetite and leading to a lower overall calorie intake.

Cardiovascular benefits of semaglutide

Cardiovascular risk profile

Type 2 diabetes is an independent risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Semaglutide, with its potent improvements in glycemic control, can have numerous heart benefits

In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), semaglutide reduces adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke. In those with type 2 diabetes but without ASCVD, semaglutide reduces the risk of developing ASCVD and associated complications.

Impact of weight loss on cardiovascular risk

With the expected 10-15% weight loss experienced with semaglutide, the weight loss leads to lower blood pressure and improvements in lipid profiles. This further decreases the risk of ASCVD and associated events.

Role of insulin sensitivity

Insulin resistance causes inflammation by releasing proinflammatory compounds and causing oxidative stress. This, in turn, causes nitric oxide to be released, which causes abnormalities in the endothelium (in the artery walls), allowing plaque to build up in coronary arteries, which is called atherosclerosis. 

GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide improve insulin sensitivity and regulate pancreatic insulin release. Improved insulin sensitivity helps reduce inflammation, which in turn, decreases the risk of atherosclerosis and related events of heart attack and stroke.

Metabolic benefits of semaglutide

Metabolic syndrome

Insulin resistance and inflammation are main features of metabolic syndrome, which is a group of problems that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart disease and stroke. The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is made by having at least 3 of the following:

  • Elevated blood pressure (≥ 130 mmHg systolic or ≥ 85 mm Hg diastolic or on medication for high blood pressure)

  • Elevated blood glucose (≥ 100 mg/dL or on treatment for diabetes)

  • Increased waist circumference (indicating central obesity, ≥ 40 inches in men or ≥ 35 inches in women)

  • High triglycerides (fasting ≥ 150 mg/dL or on medication for elevated triglycerides)

  • Low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (< 40 mg/dL in men or < 50 mg/dL in women or on medication for low HDL)

Semaglutide has been shown to improve each of the adverse cardiometabolic risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is not only a leading cause of chronic liver disease but is also a risk factor for developing ASCVD. NAFLD occurs when fat cells are deposited into hepatocytes (liver cells), eventually leading to stiffness and fibrosis and decreased liver function. This also affects glucose metabolism in the liver, increasing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Hepatocytes have GLP-1 receptors, so GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide have been shown to have beneficial effects in NAFLD

Semaglutide reduces inflammation from fat oxidation, lowers the release of inflammatory cytokines, helps regulate glucose uptake in the liver and decreases liver cell damage. In turn, semaglutide reduces the ASCVD risk associated with NAFLD.

Dementia and cognitive decline

As a result of similar cellular changes in both insulin resistance and dementia, dementia is commonly called “insulin resistance of the brain” or “type 3 diabetes.” The negative impact of insulin resistance on brain health occurs by several mechanisms:

  • Insulin resistance leads to poor response of brain cells to insulin, which can cause neuron (brain cell) death

  • Insulin resistance promotes neuroinflammation, which also damages neurons

  • Neuroinflammation has been shown to be associated with systemic inflammation, increasing the risk of ASCVD 

Improving your heart health with semaglutide

If you have atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, a history of heart attack or stroke, or risk factors for cardiovascular disease like we discussed, you may benefit from semaglutide to improve your heart health. Discuss your individual health factors with a trusted healthcare professional to ensure a safe, personalized approach to a healthy heart.

Agile can help you become a healthier, happier you

Before embarking on your medical weight loss journey, we’d love for you to meet with one of our certified healthcare providers. 

Agile offers rapid treatment for your weight loss concerns with nationwide provider availability. Simply fill out a brief, 5-minute health survey and schedule some time to meet your clinician virtually. They will review your information, confirm eligibility and create a personalized weight loss plan that includes nutritional recommendations. 

Agile’s monthly weight loss subscription includes the cost of visits, labs and semaglutide medication shipped directly to you for just $349 per month! No hidden fees and no insurance needed. Unlike our competitors, we include the cost of medication into our monthly subscription—$349 is what you’ll pay every month.

If you’re ready to take the first step towards achieving your weight loss goals, see if you qualify today!