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Lifestyles & Risk Factors for Heart Disease Part 2

Posted Apr 08 2013 3:00am
Last fall, I wrote a quick review of lifestyles & risk factors for heart disease .  Interestingly, while we're constantly searching for the next big test to better predict heart disease & stroke, we're not very good in optimizing known risk factors, like systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol & smoking.  Of note, these are the very same modifiable risk factors (absent HDL cholesterol) used in the Framingham risk calculator (we can't alter our age or gender, reassignment surgery notwithstanding).

In a prospective study published yesterday in the European Heart Journal , the authors noted that the above noted traditional risk factors were able to predict heart disease at 10 & 35yrs out but not so good at predicting stroke risk.  The authors followed 7,174 middle-aged Swedish men 457-55yo at baseline w/o heart disease, stroke or diabetes in order to arrive at their conclusions.  Lest we throw out these traditional risk factors, let's not forget the recent study suggesting that coronary artery calcium might be useful in assessing stroke risk .

What's this mean for you & me?  Let's focus on the traditional risk factors by dint of lifestyle eg healthy nutrition & regular exercise.  And for now, discuss w/your doctor when that CAC score might be appropriate.

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