Young U.S. adults may underestimate heart risk: study

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Young American adults who learn they have a low immediate risk of heart disease may be making a mistake if they sigh with relief and relax — their lifetime risk could be high, doctors cautioned on Monday.

A new analysis of heart disease risk studies shows that about half of people under the age of 50 who appeared to have a low risk of heart disease for the next 10 years already had damage to the arteries that could cause trouble later.

“We found that about half of individuals who are 50 years of age or younger and at low short-term risk for heart disease may not remain at low risk throughout their lives,” said Dr. Jarett Berry of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, who helped lead the study.

Usually, a doctor assesses a patient’s risk of heart disease using the Framingham Risk Score, which takes into account cholesterol levels, blood pressure and other factors to predict cardiovascular risk for the next 10 years.

And, almost automatically, anyone under the age of 50 has a low 10-year risk.

But heart disease usually develops slowly, as “plaque” builds up in arteries, reducing blood flow and causing unstable clumps that can break off and cause strokes or heart attacks.

Berry’s team looked at the 10-year and lifetime risk scores for nearly 4,000 people age 50 and younger taking part in two clinical studies.

They found that 91 percent of those 50 and younger had a low immediate risk of heart disease and would have been told as such by their doctors. But half had a high lifetime risk, they reported in the journal Circulation.

The volunteers had undergone unusually thorough examinations because they were in the studies, so Berry and colleagues looked at the ultrasound measurements of their carotid arteries and CAT scans for calcium. Both types of scans can show early evidence of artery disease.

They showed that the people who had a high lifetime risk according to cholesterol, blood pressure and other measures also had the beginnings of physical evidence of heart disease — thicker artery linings and hardened plaques.

“What we found was there were significant differences in the presence and progress of atherosclerosis,” Berry said in a telephone interview.

Usually, doctors just tell patients about their 10-year risk, but if patients knew their lifetime risks they could act right away to change their lifestyles, Berry said.

Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack, stroke and heart failure, is the No. 1 killer of people in the United States, killing as many people each year as cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents and diabetes combined, the American Heart Association says.

(Editing by Philip Barbara)

Source

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Related Posts:


By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Just one extra hour of sleep a day appears to lower the risk of developing calcium deposits in the arteries, a precursor to heart disease, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. The finding adds to a growing list of health consequences — including weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure — linked to

Full Post: Skimping on sleep is bad for the heart: U.S. study
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women younger than age 65 with diabetes tend to have worse cardiovascular risk profiles than diabetic men of the same age, leading to higher death rates following a heart attack, research shows. “The female advantage with fewer cardiovascular events than in men at younger ages is attenuated once a woman has

Full Post: Diabetic women more likely to die after heart attack
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Genes that increase the risk of heart disease in the general population carry an even greater risk of heart trouble in diabetics, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. The findings may help better identify which diabetics are at risk for heart disease and could lead to new treatments, they said. “Coronary artery disease is one

Full Post: Genes that raise heart risks amplified in diabetics
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An obese child’s arteries may be just as clogged as the arteries of someone who is middle-aged, researchers said on Tuesday. This buildup of fatty plaque means the children may risk heart attack or stroke as early as age 30, according to Dr. Geetha Raghuveer of the University of Missouri Kansas

Full Post: Obese kids’ arteries look like middle-aged adults’
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Gene Emery BOSTON (Reuters) - A new device may help doctors decide the best way to use artery-clearing stents, reducing serious risks and unnecessary followup procedures by 28 percent, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. The device, made by a unit of medical device maker St. Jude Medical Inc, uses a pressure-sensitive wire to guide the placement

Full Post: Wire helps doctors position stents better: report

Site Navigation

Most Read

Search