Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. It is important for Americans to analyse their risk factors to help them reduce their chance of having a heart disease or a stroke. One method to help analyse this risk is the Framingham Risk Assessment. The Framingham Risk Assessment analyses various constant factors such as age and gender, along with variables such as smoking, high blood pressure, and overall cholesterol level, to calculate a risk for heart disease and stroke.
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Things you need
- Current blood pressure reading
- Measurement of cholesterol levels
- Accurate recording of your height and weight
Input your basic data into one of several risk calculators available on the Internet. Basic data is information such as your height, age and sex. These are your constant factors. They cannot be changed to alter your risk of heart disease and stroke. Online risk calculators include those offered by Stroke Education Ltd., the Cleveland Clinic, and the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making (see Resources section).
Enter your medical data into the calculator. Data needed for a Framingham calculation is your current blood pressure measurement, along with your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol reading. You will also need to enter your weight.
These are the basic variables that go with any Framingham Risk Analysis. These factors are variable. They can be altered through lifestyle changes. Other variable factors included in some assessments include waist girth, history of diabetes, history of heart disease, and answers to additional questions about personal medical factors.
Calculate your risk once all of the requested data has been entered. The resulting calculation will be expressed as a percentage, derived from the data entered. The percentage is your risk of suffering a heart attack over the next 10 years.
Tips and warnings
- The Framingham Risk score is not a permanent measure. Your risk may become higher or lower based on lifestyle factors. If you do have a high risk score, there are ways to lower it. Follow the basic tenets of health, which include eating right and exercising, to lower your risk. This will lower your blood pressure and your cholesterol to give you a better score.
- The Framingham equation can also be calculated manually (see Resources section).
- Do not substitute using a risk calculator for visiting a doctor. If you are at a high risk for heart disease or stroke, consult a doctor for the best method to reduce your risk.
- This assessment is just one tool to help gauge your health. Other factors, such as genetic risk are being looked at by the Framingham Heart Study to gauge their effect on heart disease risk. This means that not all factors that contribute to heart disease are represented in the current Framingham Risk Assessment.
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