What’s Your Heart Disease Risk?
Calculate Your Heart Disease Risk
This is the information you need to calculate your risk:
- Your age. As you get older, your overall increase for heart disease and heart attack goes up. For men this means being over age 45 and for women, over 55.
- Cholesterol. You need to know your total cholesterol, plus the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and the “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in your blood. If your LDL is too high or your HDL is too low (less than 40 mg/dL), you are at risk. Get a blood test to find out what your cholesterol levels are if you do not already know.
- Blood pressure. It should be 140/90 or lower. If you are taking medication to control blood pressure, you are still considered to be at risk even if your blood pressure is under control.
- Chronic diseases. There are other health conditions, such as diabetes, that are closely tied to heart disease risk.
- Family history. If you have close male relatives who had heart disease before age 55 or close female relatives with heart disease before age 65, you are at increased risk. However, Levy points out that many people do not know all the details of their family’s history with heart disease. Make the best guess you can if you don’t have someone to ask.
- Smoking cigarettes. Bad news for people who are smokers — this is a strong independent risk factor for heart disease.
Of course, calculating heart disease risk is a more complex than simply using an online calculator, so check with your doctor to make sure you’re taking all the steps you need to take.
Article By: Madeline R. Vann, MPH