1.36 Calculating Your Heart Disease Risk
In this HeartStrong.com video/article, we will talk about how you can calculate you own heart disease risk. This is important to see and track as you progress through your HeartStrong.com Heart Health Program.
There are only a few available tools to calculate your heart disease risk. Remember, these were all done with people who essentially ate a standard American diet and had physical activity levels that were not very high compared to recommendations. Calculate your risk and assume this is your risk if you do not make any significant lifestyle changes. Once you complete your HeartStrong.com program, your risk will be reduced dramatically below these calculated levels.
Framingham Risk Calculators
A large study over a 30 year time period in Framingham Massachusetts followed thousands of people to determine which factors increase the risk of heart disease. A large majority of online heart disease risk calculators use the methods from this study to determine your risk. While not ideal, this calculator takes into account age, gender, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetic status and if you smoke tobacco products. It does NOT factor in family history of heart disease or obesity. The American College of Cardiology calculator using this technique is here.
The ATP III calculator is another common tool used to calculate risk. ATP stands for “Adult Treatment Panel.” This method does not use the LDL cholesterol levels and factors if whether a patient is treated with medication for hypertension or not. Family history and weight is still not included.
Use the ATP III method to calculate your risk here.
The third heart disease risk calculator is called QRISK and was developed in the UK. This does use weight/height to calculated body mass index (BMI) and does account for family history.
Use the QRISK calculator here.
Summary and Conclusions
While there are many different tools to calculate your risk, use the above 3 and track how your risk declines as you move through your HeartStrong.com Heart Health Program. Play with the tools to see where you can personally make the biggest difference in lowering your risk. Ultimately, the risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack rarely will go completely to zero, however following the HeartStrong.com Heart Health Program will get you as close to zero as we can possible be!