What is your cardiovascular risk? How can you lower your risk?
Updated: Jan 27, 2021
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) (heart attack, stroke etc.) is the number one cause of death worldwide taking almost 18 million lives each year. High cholesterol, diabetes, and other conditions can affect the blood circulation and damage vital body parts like brain, heart, and limbs. Once the damage is done, it is too late. Key is to prevent or delay it by lowering the CVD risk. With the knowledge gained from decades of research and studies, we can exactly do that.
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Important conditions that increase CVD risk:
Family history of CVD at early age
Other conditions that can further increase CVD risk:
Chronic kidney disease
Chronic inflammatory diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, HIV infection
Premature menopause or pregnancy related conditions like preeclampsia
Elevated biomarkers like lipoproteins, C-reactive protein
How to calculate CVD risk?
ACC/AHA 10 year risk calculator
Calculates CVD risk over 10 years valid for ages 40 to 79 years.
QRISK Lifetime risk calculator
Calculates lifetime CVD risk. Used for those with low 10 year risk.
Who needs treatment with statin and aspirin therapy to lower the risk and prevent CVD?
While lifestyle changes and treatment of underlying conditions that increase CVD risk are vital, treatment with statin and aspirin therapy is important intervention to prevent CVD such as heart attack or stroke. Above risk calculators can help to decide whether you need treatment with statin and aspirin therapy or not. Earlier, cholesterol number used to determine the need of statin therapy, while now it is the risk that determines it. If you can not tolerate statin therapy, there are other options as well.
Studies suggest, those with 10-year risk of > 10% or Lifetime risk of > 39% are considered high risk and should benefit from statin and aspirin therapy. This does not apply to those who already have Cardiovascular disease such as heart attack or stroke.
So next time when you see your doctor, do not forget to discuss your CVD risk!
Reference: American Heart Association, World Health Organization
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