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Calculating Heart Age, CV Scores and Cardiovascular (CV) Risk

Published on: May 15, 2024
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Heart Age, CV Scores and Cardiovascular (CV) Risk
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Since heart health and risk assessment are cornerstones of preventive medicine, understanding tools like the Heart Age, Cardiovascular (CV) Risk Score, and CV Risk is paramount for patients’ well-being.

The heart age represents patients’ cardiovascular risk profile relative to their chronological age, providing a tangible measure of cardiovascular health status.

The cardiovascular risk score reflects the probability of a cardiovascular event based on multiple CV risk factors.

This blog explains the significance of heart age, cardiovascular (CV) risk score, and CVD risk factors for successful treatment strategies.

What is Heart Age?

The heart age is the age of the heart and blood vessels relative to actual chronological age, depending on specific risk factors for stroke and heart attack.

A recent US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study pointed out that 50% of men and 40% of women have hearts 5 years or more older than their real age.

Moreover, 75% of heart attacks and strokes develop due to risk factors that elevate the heart age.

Calculation of the Heart Age

The heart age calculator is suitable for individuals in the 30- to 95-year-old group who do not have a history of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

Healthcare professionals ask patients to provide the latest body weight, height, sex, age, blood pressure, diabetes, smoking status, and cholestrol data to calculate heart age.

Calculating Heart Age

The heart age concept is particularly effective for communicating cardiovascular risk in a more understandable and relatable way. When a patient’s heart age is higher than the actual age, it indicates a higher-than-average risk of developing heart disease.

This comparison can motivate individuals to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, such as improving diet, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, or managing underlying health conditions to reduce their heart age and overall cardiovascular risk.

Significance of Cardiovascular Risk Score for Heart Health

Patients’ heart age leads to the computation of cardiovascular risk scores, quantifying the likelihood of experiencing a cardiovascular emergency (like stroke or heart attack) over a specified period based on individual risk factors.

It is possible to calculate the cardiovascular risk score using multiple methods, such as the Framingham Risk Score or the ASCVD (Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease) Risk Estimator.

The Framingham Risk Function-based algorithm projects the probability of developing heart disease in the upcoming ten years based on Pooled Cohort Equations and the work of Lloyd-Jones et al.

The Framingham Heart Study (FHS) was first conducted in 1948, with 5,209 participants aged 30-62 from Framingham, Massachusetts. In 2023, the Study marked its 75th anniversary, enrolling over 15,000 candidates in three generations.

Guidelines for Calculating Cardiovascular Risk

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have introduced a set of guidelines for the correct assessment of cardiovascular risk.

Physicians should use the quantitative 10-year CV risk assessment as the first step toward preventive treatment options for cardiovascular diseases.

Doctors should communicate the results of a 10-year risk estimation through a clinician-patient risk discussion.

The results should guide the implementation of preventive measures and decide whether the patient should start medical therapy to avoid risk escalations.

Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

The American Heart Association listed the following risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD):

  • History of ASCVD at an early age among family members (men <55 years old, women <65)
  • Elevated cholesterol level (LDL-C 160-189mg/dl; non-HDL-C 190-219mg/dL)
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions (e.g., HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis)
  • History of pre-eclampsia or early menopause
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • South Asian people are believed to be among high-risk individual
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein ≥2.0mg/dL
  • High lipid biomarkers
  • Triglycerides ≥175 mg/dL
  • High levels of lipoprotein (≥50 mg/dL or ≥125 nmol/L)
  • High apolipoprotein B level (≥130 mg/dL)
  • Ankle-brachial index ‹0.9

In conclusion, understanding concepts like heart age, CV score, and cardiovascular (CV) risk is vital for assessing and managing heart health.

Together, these tools empower individuals and healthcare providers to take proactive steps toward prevention.

By addressing modifiable risk factors like high cholesterol, hypertension, smoking, and diabetes, doctors can prescribe tailored interventions to mitigate CV risk factors and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Disclaimer

This blog provides general information for educational and informational purposes only and shouldn't be seen as professional advice.

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- By Fitterfly Health-Team

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