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An Aspirin a Day Keeps Heart Disease Away

to lower their LDL (low density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol) to less than 70 mg/dL.

Meanwhile cardiologists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are calling for an expansion of the criteria widely used by physicians to detect and assess a postmenopausal woman's chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

According to Dr. Roger Blumenthal and colleagues a family history of heart disease and blood levels of a protein tied to vessel inflammation, C-reactive protein, should immediately be added to traditional assessments of women's risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke or severe chest pain (angina).

Blumenthal, an associate professor and director of the Ciccarone Preventive Cardiology Center at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says doctors should intervene with lifestyle changes and drug treatment before symptoms start to appear.

Blumenthal says the best means of prevention is through early identification of those most at risk.

Such methods he believes could change the discrepancy between the death rate for men and women from cardiovascular disease, which has steadily declined for men over the last 20 years, but has remained relatively the same for women.

The new risk-factor list would strengthen existing assessment tools, including the Framingham Risk Estimate, which gauges how likely a person is to suffer a fatal or nonfatal heart attack within 10 years and calculates risk based on a summary score of such factors as age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and smoking.

The Hopkins experts say there is clear evidence that only family history and C-reactive protein, or hsCRP for short, had significant, additional predictive value in determining women really at moderate or high risk of future cardiovascular disease.

Source-John Hopkins
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