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Feb 13, 2014

New Smartphone App Estimates Heart Disease Risk

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have teamed up to launch a new risk app based on the latest guidelines.

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have launched a smartphone app that calculates heart disease risk in just minutes. With information like age, gender and key health numbers, the app provides instant feedback on an individual’s risk for developing heart disease.

The ASCVD Risk Estimator app is based on 2013 guidelines for estimating cardiovascular risk and blood cholesterol, which experts believe are more accurate than past estimations. The new app calculates risk based on age, sex, race, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diabetes, smoking status, and whether a person takes blood pressure lowering medication. Using detailed calculations, the app then provides a few important pieces of information. For adults between the ages of 40 and 79 years, the app can calculate risk for developing heart disease in the next ten years. And for adults aged 20-59 years, the app can provide one’s risk for developing heart disease in their entire lifetime.

Though the results of the app’s calculations are estimates, the app allows adults take steps to improve their health in the future by providing key tips for lifestyle changes like diet. The tool also provides important information for health care providers. Based on information entered, doctors can readily determine whether a patient should take cholesterol-lowering medication, and if so, what dose they should be taking.

It’s important to note that this risk estimator is intended for adults who don’t have heart disease or high cholesterol yet. The goal of the app is to help the millions of Americans who have cardiovascular risk factors understand their risk and take steps to prevent or delay the development of  heart disease.

To calculate your risk for heart disease using the risk estimator, download the app from iTunes or Google Play and take a step toward better heart health. A desktop web version of the application is also available.

Questions for You to Consider

  • Who is at risk for heart attack?
  • The most common risk factors for heart attack include increased age, tobacco use, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, stress, illegal drug use, lack of physical activity and family history of heart attack.
  • How can I reduce my risk for heart attack?

  • You can significantly reduce risk for heart attack by knowing your numbers and addressing any cardiovascular risk factors that you may have, including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, or smoking. You can also help reduce cardiovascular risk by maintaining a healthy weight and heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly and controlling stress.

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