What’s Your Heart Disease Risk?

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. According to the American Heart Association, “Cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounts for nearly 836,546 deaths in the US. That’s about 1 of every 3 deaths in the US.”

1 in 3.

What’s your risk? If you know your cholesterol levels and blood pressure you can calculate YOUR risk of heart disease (and take steps to lower it). It’s easy with this online calculator:

  • Online AHA 10-Year Heart Disease Risk Calculator: Web version *

Once you input your information, it will tell you three key things:

  • YOUR estimated risk of heart disease over next 10 years.
  • Treatment advice (to discuss with your doctor) including BOTH lifestyle changes and possible prescription medications that might be indicated if your risk is 5% or greater.
  • Impact of Therapy – how your risk could change with treatment.

Armed with this knowledge you can help reduce your personal risk of heart disease with lifestyle changes and discuss treatment options with your doctor.

* This calculator is relevant only for those who do NOT already have diagnosed heart disease, and whose LDL cholesterol <190 mg/dL.

I’ve written extensively about food and exercise—lifestyle changes that can help lower heart disease risk. Here’s a nice summary: The 9 Most Important Things You Can Do to Keep Your Heart Healthy:

  • Don’t Smoke
  • Exercise
  • Eat Heart Healthy Foods
  • Manage Stress
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • Don’t Drink Excessively
  • Know your Numbers (cholesterol and blood pressure)
  • Take a Heart Disease Risk Assessment
  • Get Enough Sleep

And if you’re like me and your blood pressure is creeping up with age, make sure you are monitoring it and know what the blood pressure readings mean.  I track my blood pressure and send results to my phone so I can discuss with my doctor. Personally, I like the Omron 10 Series Wireless Bluetooth Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with Two User Mode (200 Reading Memory) – Compatible with Alexa and it’s the same one my gynecologist uses in her office. But any blood pressure screening will work – just know your blood pressure and talk to your doctor if it’s above normal.

What’s normal for blood pressure? In a nutshell, 120/80 or less.  A great guide is the AHA’s Understanding Blood Pressure Readings article.

Know your own heart disease risk so you can take steps to lower it.


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