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10 year cardiovascular disease risk calculator



Understanding my Cardiovascular Risk

  • Risk assessments are used to determine the likelihood of a patient developing cardiovascular disease, heart attack or stroke in the future. In general, patients at higher risk for cardiovascular disease require more intensive treatment to help prevent the development of cardiovascular disease.
  • Risk assessments are calculated using a number of factors including age, gender, race, cholesterol and blood pressure levels, diabetes and smoking status, and the use of blood pressure-lowering medications. Typically, these factors are used to estimate a patient's risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years. For example, someone who is young with no risk factors for cardiovascular disease would have a very low 10-year risk for developing cardiovascular disease. However, someone who is older with risk factors like diabetes and high blood pressure will have a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years.
  • If a preventive treatment plan is unclear based on the calculation of risk outlined above, care providers should take into account other factors such as family history and level of C-reactive protein. Taking this additional information into account should help inform a treatment plan to reduce a patient's 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Calculating the 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease using traditional risk factors is recommended every 4-6 years in patients 20-79 years old who are free from cardiovascular disease. However, conducting a more detailed 10-year risk assessment every 4-6 years is reasonable in adults ages 40-79 who are free of cardiovascular disease. Assessing a patient's 30-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease can also be useful for patients 20-59 years of age who are free of cardiovascular disease and are not at high short-term risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Risk estimations vary drastically by gender and race. Patients with the same traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure can have a different 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease as a result of their sex and race.

Diet and Physical Activity Recommendations

The "2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk" provides recommendations for heart-healthy lifestyle choices based on the latest research and evidence. The guidelines focus on two important lifestyle choices--diet and physical activity--which can have a drastic impact on cardiovascular health. Here's what every patient should know about the latest recommendations for reducing cardiovascular disease risk through diet and exercise.


  • Diet is a vital tool for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which are two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
  • Patients with high cholesterol and high blood pressure levels should eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains and incorporate low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils and nuts into their diet. They should also limit intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and red meats.
  • There are many helpful strategies for heart-healthy eating, including the DASH diet and the USDA's Choose My Plate.
  • Patients who need to lower their cholesterol should reduce saturated and trans fat intake. Ideally, only 5-6% of daily caloric intake should come from saturated fat.
  • Patients with high blood pressure should consume no more than 2,400 mg of sodium a day, ideally reducing sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day. However, even reducing sodium intake in one's current diet by 1,000 mg each day can help lower blood pressure.
  • It's important to adapt the recommendations above, keeping in mind calorie requirements, as well as, personal and cultural food preferences. Nutrition therapy for other conditions like diabetes should also be considered. Doing so helps create healthy eating patterns that are realistic and sustainable.

Physical Activity

  • Regular physical activity helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • In general, adults should engage in aerobic physical activity 3-4 times a week with each session lasting an average of 40 minutes.
  • Moderate (brisk walking or jogging) to vigorous (running or biking) physical activity is recommended to reduce cholesterol levels.

Weight Management Recommendations

The "2013 AHA/ACC/TOS Guideline for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults" was created to reflect the latest research to outline best practices when it comes to treating obesity--a condition that affects more than one-third of American adults. These guidelines help address questions like "What's the best way to lose weight?" and "When is bariatric surgery appropriate?". Here is what every patient should know about the treatment of overweight and obesity:

  • Definition of obesity: Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it can have an adverse effect on one's health. Obesity can be diagnosed using body mass index (BMI), a measurement of height and weight, as well as waist circumference. Obesity is categorized as having a BMI of 30 or greater. Abdominal obesity is defined as having a waist circumference greater than 40 inches for a man or 35 inches for a woman.
  • Benefits of weight loss: Obesity increases the risk for serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death, but losing just a little bit of weight can result in significant health benefits. For an adult who is obese, losing just 3-5% of body weight can improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Ideally, care providers recommend 5-10% weight loss for obese adults, which can produce even greater health benefits.
  • Weight loss strategies: There is no single diet or weight loss program that works best for all patients. In general, reduced caloric intake and a comprehensive lifestyle intervention involving physical activity and behavior modification tailored according to a patient's preferences and health status is most successful for sustained weight loss. Further, weight loss interventions should include frequent visits with health care providers and last more than one year for sustained weight loss.
  • Bariatric Surgery: Bariatric surgery may be a good option for severely obese patients to reduce their risk of health complications and improve overall health. However, bariatric surgery should be reserved for only the highest risk patients until more evidence is available on this issue. Present guidelines advise that weight loss surgery is only recommended for patients with extreme obesity (BMI ≥40) or in patients that have a BMI ≥35 in addition to a chronic health condition.

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