Interactive Tool: Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack?
What does this tool measure?
Click here to find your risk of heart attack.
This interactive tool measures your chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years. The tool calculates your risk score from the values you enter. The calculation is based on information from the Framingham Heart Study. Since 1948 the Framingham Heart Study has studied the progression of heart disease and its risk factors. The data from this study has been used to make a risk assessment. This risk assessment was created by the U.S. National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), part of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The values you enter include the most important risk factors for heart disease. They are as follows:
- Age and gender. The number of people affected by heart disease increases with age in men after age 45 and in women after age 55.
- Smoker. Select "Yes" if you have smoked any cigarettes in the past month. Quitting smoking may be the most important step you can take to reduce your risk.
- Systolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is the first number of your blood pressure reading. For example, if your reading is 120/80 (120 over 80), your systolic blood pressure is 120.
- Blood pressure medicine. Medicines used to treat high blood pressure include diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and direct renin inhibitors. Enter "Yes" if you take one of these medicines.
- HDL cholesterol. HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, is the "good" cholesterol because it helps prevent cholesterol from building up in your arteries. The higher your HDL, the better. An HDL of 60 mg/dL and above protects against heart disease. An HDL of less than 40 mg/dL puts you at major risk of heart attack.
- Total cholesterol. Total cholesterol is the sum of all the cholesterol in your blood. The higher your total cholesterol, the greater your risk for heart disease. A total cholesterol of 240 mg/dL and above puts you at twice the risk of heart disease compared with someone whose cholesterol is below 200 mg/dL. Less than 200 mg/dL gives you a lower risk for heart disease.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
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|Heart attack risk|
What does your score mean?
Your score will appear in values from 1% to 99%. If your score is 5%, it means that 5 out of 100 people with this level of risk will have a heart attack in the next 10 years. If your score is 10%, it means that 10 out of 100 people with this level of risk will have a heart attack in the next 10 years.
Your doctor uses your risk score to help decide whether you need treatment to lower your risk for heart attack. Based on your risk, your doctor will likely suggest that you follow a healthy lifestyle, such as eating healthy and being active. Your doctor will also use your risk score to decide whether you need to take medicines. Your doctor may prescribe:
If you are concerned about your score, talk to your doctor about lowering your risk for a heart attack. You can make lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or changing your diet, that can substantially reduce your chances of heart attack. But if your risk is high, your doctor may suggest that you start taking medicines to lower your chance of having a heart attack.
This information was adapted from the National Cholesterol Education Program and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2004). Risk Assessment tool for estimating your 10-year risk of having a heart attack. Available online http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/atpiii/calculator.asp.
Other Works Consulted
- Grundy SM, et al. (2001). Executive summary of the third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). JAMA, 285(19): 2486–2497.
- Grundy SM, et al. (2004). Implications of recent clinical trials of the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III Guidelines. Circulation, 110(2): 227–239. [Erratum in Circulation, 110(6): 763.]
|Author||Robin Parks, MS|
|Editor||Kathleen M. Ariss, MS|
|Associate Editor||Pat Truman, MATC|
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology|
|Last Updated||October 21, 2008|