The two cornerstones of managing heart disease in a population are
Increasingly experts in CVD management and prevention are coming to the understanding that the more effective way to contain these diseases is to manage their risks factors and not detecting the disease itself by a screening such as ECG; the second approach is better
So much so that the AHA recommends that people not having symptoms suggestive of CVD , should not be offered ECG or stress test, cornerstones for diagnosis of IHD, because it does not improve outcomes and may infact lead to complications of unnecessary interventions
Instead management of risk factors, in accordance with a population specific predictive score, which quantifies the risk of heart attack or CVD events in next 10 years is gaining prominence
You may have heard of the Framingham heart risk score, which is the most widely known score in this category, but it is specific for US population. For Indians, the only such risk score is the WHO/ISH risk score which has been accepted by Indian doctors, by consensus, as the most appropriate, we at FHI use this score to calculate your 10 year risk of heart attack
The calculated risk score will help your doctor in deciding whether he/she needs to put you on drugs for lowering of cholesterol, how often should you get your health check up etc.
The risk assessment score defines the probability of getting heart attack or stroke the cohort/group in which you may fall and not your individual risk; e.g. if your risk assessment score is 10-20% risk of getting a heart attack in ten years, it would means in a group of similar people as you, 10-20% people will have a heart attack in next ten years. Therefore, it is important to avoid panic and take positive steps towards changing your risk factors
FHI calculator also shows how controlling one individual risk such as quitting smoking or lowering your cholesterol will impact your overall risk of heart attack, which will help you get motivated
You need to have the following test results (It’s best to have recent results but results of tests done up till a year back should be OK, if you lifestyle and health have not changed much)
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CHECK OUT: Our references for recommendation in heart risk management