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Less than 1 in 5 heart problems are diagnosed before symptoms appear
Date:5/11/2009

risk factors such as smoking, having high blood cholesterol, having high blood pressure, being overweight, being physically inactive or just getting older.

"Guidelines recommend that all adults over the age of 20 should receive risk factor screening from their family doctor every two to five years. There are more specific guidelines for patients with type 2 diabetes as their risk of a heart attack is twice as high as the general population."

The analysis from the SHIELD study (Study to Help Improve Early evaluation and management of risk factor Leading to Diabetes) was performed to see if ongoing recommendations for improved screening in the USA were resulting in more patients being diagnosed with heart disease before they became symptomatic.

It forms part of the larger SHIELD survey of 211,097 US households who responded to a national questionnaire.

More than 18,400 people who had participated in the baseline and first follow-up SHIELD surveys - and had diabetes or one of the five cardiometabolic risk factors - were sent questionnaires and 13,877 (75%) responded. Of these, 1,573 (11% of the total) had been diagnosed with heart disease.

Just under two-thirds had heart disease on its own (62%). They were predominantly male (59%) and white (91%) with an average age of 67. The remaining 38% had heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They were slightly more likely to be women (50.7%), 88% were white and their average age was 69.

The average time since diagnosis was 11.7 years in CHD patients without diabetes and 10.7 years in individuals with diabetes and CHD. Almost a third of the non diabetes group (31%) and 36% of the diabetes group had been diagnosed since 2001 when a number of consensus statements and guidelines on screening and prevention were published.

"Despite increased knowledge and awareness of the risk factors for CHD, many individuals are not diagnosed with heart disease until they are sy
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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