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Half of Adults 50 and Younger With Low 10-Year Risk of CVD Have High Lifetime Risk
Date:1/14/2009

tion that's not obtained through modifications of the 10-year risk window. For example, adjusting the threshold of "low risk" to less than 5 percent will do little to improve stratification of risk across the remaining lifespan.

Because of the intuitive nature and distinct features of lifetime risk estimates, researchers sought to combine the 10-year and the lifetime risk window into a single, clinically relevant method of risk stratification.

Researchers analyzed 10-year and lifetime risk scores for nearly 4,000 people age 50 and younger who had not yet had a heart attack. They found that 91 percent of those 50 and younger were at low risk for CVD, according to the Framingham Risk Score. Among that 91 percent, about half of them had a high lifetime predicted risk.

"The thickness of the carotid artery and amount of calcium in the coronary artery was significantly greater among those who had low short-term, but high lifetime risk, compared to those with low short-term and low lifetime predicted risk. So, by using many of the same risk factors of the Framingham Risk Score in a lifetime risk model, we reclassified nearly 50 percent of the people who were 'low-risk' by Framingham."

Using a long-term risk measurement for adults age 50 and younger could be a useful addition to the traditional 10-year risk score, Berry said.

"We feel that this study emphasizes the role of lifetime risk estimates as a useful adjunct to the 10-year risk estimate. At a minimum, we believe that lifetime risk estimates could be used to communicate risk more effectively to adults younger than 50 with elevated risk factors," he said.

Nearly 2,400 Americans die of CVD each day, an average of one death every 37 seconds, according to the American Heart Association. Cardiovascular disease claims about as many lives each year as cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents and diabetes
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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