Calculate Your Heart Attack Risk Online

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Did you know there are quick, easy-to-use, online calculators that will tell you how likely you are to have a heart attack in the next 10 years?

There are several, in fact.  Most of these online risk calculators are based on the Framingham risk score, which assesses heart disease risk in the next 10 years based on six pieces of information: age, sex, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, smoking status and systolic blood pressure.

The Reynolds risk score goes beyond the Framingham risk score.  In addition to all the factors required by the Framingham risk score, the Reynolds risk score asks for C-reactive protein test results (which are not included in a typical lipid panel) and whether a parent had a heart attack before age 60.

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I heart My Fitness Pal

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Apologies for the lame post title, but I thought it fit with the lameness of the name of my new favorite app: My Fitness Pal. Why Mike and Albert Lee, the brothers-developers who created this wildly handy app, thought the word ‘pal’ was a good idea I’ll probably never know. But in the end I don’t care – because this app is awesome.

Though I will admit to the need of dropping a few post-holiday pounds, I was not in the market for an exercise or food tracking tool. I like love technology, sure, but the thought of tapping into my iPhone every single morsel of food that passed my lips sounded…let’s just say less than fun.

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Statin, statin, do you really need a statin?

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At my family’s annual holiday party, I was again stunned at the fact that all of my blood relatives my age or older take statins to lower cholesterol.

All. Of. Them.

Even though none are overweight and we do not have a family history of cardiac disease. Yes, we do have a family history of high cholesterol; all of us have cholesterol levels that top out at well over 200. But our family history is rife with high cholesterol, not heart disease.

So why? Why has every single one of my relatives heeded their internist or GP’s advice and gone on a statin to lower cholesterol when they don’t have other cardiac risk factors?

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Cholesterol Results – Static, No Statins

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Bless me, doctor, for I have sinned.  It’s been 11 months since my last cholesterol test. (Sorry, could not resist putting this in Catholic confessional format!)

So, I finally worked up the courage to have my cholesterol tested a few weeks ago and the news is – well – fine.  Not great.  No movement in the right direction.  Indeed, some movement in the wrong direction. BUT the following magic words were uttered by my doctor, “We can keep monitoring – no need to start you on statins.”

She didn’t say ‘yet’ but I know she was thinking it.

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Flashing High Cholesterol

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Flash is an exciting word. A positive event. According to dictionary.com, a flash is:

  • a brief, sudden burst of bright light: a flash of lightning.
  • a sudden, brief outburst or display of joy, wit, etc.
  • But now ‘flash’ is also associated with high cholesterol.  (Hot flashes, that is.  And night sweats. And just like that — ‘in a flash’ I’d say, if I were a pun-ster —  flash falls flat.

    The SWAN study (I kid you not – it stands for the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation) of 3,201 women between the ages of 42 and 52 found that perimenopausal (the years leading up to menopause) and menopausal women with a high degree of hot flashes (6+/day),

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