Sunday, September 9, 2012

Healthy Heart: Estimate Your Risk

Hey Guys, are you doomed to heart disease? Given the fact that it's the most common killer of men, you might think so. But science has produced some nearly surefire strategies for not only treating a stricken ticker but also avoiding heart trouble in the first place. Research is coming out almost daily that improves on what we already know. Advice: Act on this wisdom. Sixty percent of young adults who did by eating right, exercising, keeping up their BMIs in check, not smoking, and going easy on the booze kept their heart disease risk low well into middle age, reports a study from Northwestern University. People who ignored these basic rules? All but less than 5 percent stayed in the low-risk category. Follow these experts' advice and you'll be a lifelong member of the low-risk club, too.

Estimate Your Risk - In the past century, researchers have begun to predict heart-disease risk by manipulating key numbers. The Framingham Heart Model- an algorithm that factors in your age, cholesterol, blood pressure, and other figures--remains a widely used prediction tool. Broaden the equation. Current research suggests that the Framingham Heart Model has some limitations: It doesn't consider family history, lifestyle, and body mass index. According to a study in BMC Medicine, a third of heart trouble occurs in people labeled as low risk by common prediction models. So if you use the online tool, don't place a lot of stock in the results until you and your doctor have fully analyzed your family history and any bad habits you have, such as smoking or excessive drinking.

Furthermore, be careful about which Framingham model you use. There's a more complex equation-based version and a simpler points-based version. In a 2010 study, it was found that the points-based system was the less accurate one: It classified 17 percent of men into treatment categories that differed from ones they would have wound up in had the equation-based model been used. Find the equation-based version at MensHealth.com/heartmodel

Source: Men's Health

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