In fact, "people with fewer risk factors had almost no increase in left ventricular mass with age," Vasan noted. "People who had more risk factors had a steeper increase in left ventricular mass with age."
Another advance, outlined in the second study, is a kind of "calculator" that allows for longer-term assessment of a young patient's odds for heart failure, said Michael J. Pencina, associate professor of biostatistics at Boston University, and a co-author of the report with Vasan.
"Until now, risk prediction and risk assessment are based on 10-year and shorter periods," Pencina said. "We are proposing a 30-year risk calculator. It will be a useful development for people aged 20 to 30 who want a fuller picture of what is happening to them."
The calculator, which will be made available through the American Heart Association, will allow most people to determine where they stand, compared both to the population at large and to the ideal, Pencina said.
"We give an optimal profile and also a normal profile," he said. "The normal profile is not quite within the recommended guidelines, but what we see in the general population. If the individual profile exceeds the optimal or normal profile, the individual should contact a physician and talk about the risk factors, what levels they should be at, and whether the physician might recommend lifestyle or other interventions."
Alongside those reports, the American Heart Association issued two scientific advisory statements for people at high risk of heart failure.
One of them was aimed at people with type 2 diabetes. According to the AHA, these individuals should perform at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity exercise or one-and-a-half hours of vigorous aerobic exercise each week, plus weight training.
The second advisory warned against use of just the body mass index (BMI) to determine obesity. BMI, which is weight in kilo
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