New Way to Predict Women's Heart Risk
Study Shows Latest Method for Predicting Heart Disease Risk Is Accurate
Testing the AHA Guidelines continued...
Another 13% could not be categorized as they lacked risk factors but didn't
have good lifestyle habits. That group may need to be addressed in future
version of the guidelines, says Hsia.
At the follow-up about eight years later, women in the high-risk group were
more likely to have a heart attack or die of coronary disease than were the
lower-risk women. While 12.5% of the high-risk women had a heart attack or died
from heart disease, 3.1% of the at-risk women did, and just 1.1% of the
optimal-risk women did over 10 years.
When Hsia's team compared the new guidelines with the Framingham risk
prediction, they found the new guidelines predicted heart problems with
accuracy similar to the Framingham categories of less than 10%, 10% to 20%, and
The AHA guidelines were less accurate, however, than another Framingham
approach, which uses risks of less than 5%, 5% to 20%, and over 20%.
The new guideline, however, ''is more accessible," Hsia says. "It's easier
for practitioners to use, easier for patients to understand. I am not saying
this [AHA] guideline is preferable to Framingham, but it's worth considering,"
Hsia tells WebMD.
Based on the risk category, a doctor can then work with the woman to control
or eliminate the risk factors.
''This study is an important validation study to confirm the predictive
accuracy of the risk stratification approach," says Cynthia Taub, MD, director
of noninvasive cardiology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
One strength, she says, is the large number of participants and the
relatively long follow-up.
Whether a woman's doctor uses the AHA guideline or the Framingham approach,
Taub says it's important that women know their risks. "If you have known
coronary artery disease, diabetes, or end-stage or chronic renal [kidney]
disease, you are in the high-risk group," she tells patients.
Many risk factors are modifiable, she says, such as smoking, not exercising,
and poor diet.
"Stop smoking, become active, improve your diet, and discuss with your
doctor how to effectively manage your hypertension and high cholesterol," she