Are you at risk for one of these life-changing, and potentially deadly, cardiovascular problems like heart attack or stroke ? You can now figure out how healthy your heart is by yourself, thanks to a new online tool that can estimate your risk of developing cardio-vascular disease (CVD) in the next 20 years.
The tool is developed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the ‘Healthy Heart Score’ can be calculated by taking a free web-based survey that also gives users practical tips for improving the scores by incorporating heart-healthy habits into the daily lives.
The survey will ask for personal information like smoking habits, weight, physical activity, alcohol use, and diet. Research shows that these five areas are most predictive of cardiovascular disease risk. Your information is private as data is anonymous and Harvard Team will never be able to connect your data back to you as an individual.
The survey walks users through a series of easy-to-follow questions about their lifestyle, such as “do you smoke cigarettes?” and “during the past year, how often, on average, did you eat a serving of fruit?”. Users receive a risk score of low (green), moderate (yellow), or high (red), and a printable assessment with tips for improvement.
The researchers stress on the fact that “the best insurance against having a heart attack or stroke is a healthy lifestyle.” Not smoking, a healthy weight, a nutritious diet, and daily exercise play important roles in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. In fact, an overall healthy lifestyle may prevent more than 75% of deaths due to cardiovascular disease.
“The Risk Score was created using over 20 years of data collected from men and women in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study”, claims the Harvard Research Team
The model was developed using health data from 61,025 women and 34,478 men, who were free of chronic disease in 1986 and followed for up to 24 years. Adults who remain free of clinical CVD risk factors during their middle-age, have an extremely low risk of developing the disease during the rest of their lives.
The risk calculator is based on healthy people without history of heart disease or diabetes, and therefore this tool is not recommended if you already have heart disease or diabetes or other chronic conditions.
The tool/survey is available at www.healthyheartscore.com.
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