January 13, 2009

Young, Healthy Still at Risk for Heart Disease

New research shows even young and healthy adults may still be at risk for heart disease, the number one killer in the United States.

According to current 10-year risk assessment data, more than 90 percent of patients 50 years old or younger have a low risk of heart disease; however, when researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas factored in a lifetime risk model, they discovered about half of those 50 or younger with a low short-term risk for heart disease may not remain at low risk throughout their lifetime.

"There is a discrepancy between short-term and long-term risk," Jarett Berry, M.D., an assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern, was quoted as saying.

This information suggests traditional methods of testing for heart disease may not be as effective as once thought. Dr. Berry says long-term risk estimation could be beneficial if applied to current clinical practice. Combining the long-term risk estimate with a short-term risk estimate could help doctors counsel patients more effectively, he says.

Source: Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, January 19, 2009


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