MAR 30, 2017 1:00 PM PDT

Online Risk Calculator for Heart Disease

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Imagine an online tool that takes into account your age, weight, gender, race, and other specific factors to calculate a personalized risk score that indicates your likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. Now available online, such a calculator exists! Developed by a pair of researchers from the University of Virginia and the University of Florida, with a doctor’s help you can now put a number on your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

Mark DeBoer, MD is one of the creators of the online metabolic risk calculator. He describes the  results a person gleans from the tool as like a conversation between patient and doctor: “On the risk spectrum, you are here, and you're in a position where we're worried you're going to have a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years.”

The online tool builds off of traditional predictive tactics that focus primarily on obesity, high blood pressure, high fasting triglycerides, low HDL, high fasting blood sugar. A conventional risk calculation involves a diagnosis of “metabolic syndrome” when someone has “abnormalities” in at least three of these factors, suggesting that the patient either make a lifestyle change or expect heart disease of some sort down the line.

While somewhat effective, this approach ignores the fact that while some individuals might not have abnormally high levels in at least three risk areas, they might have nearly-abnormal levels of more than three risk areas, putting them at just as much of a risk as others.  "As is true in most processes in life, the reality is that this risk exists on a spectrum," DeBoer explained.

The current approach also omits several social factors, but DeBoer’s new technology factors in traditional risk factors and as well as race, ethnicity, and gender, producing a “metabolic severity score” accessible to both the doctor, who can make recommendations, and the patient, who can consider various lifestyle changes in their diet and physical exercise habits.

“The more specific information you can give to individuals at risk, the more they will understand it and be motivated to make some changes,” DeBoer said. The current edition of the online metabolic risk calculator can be found here.

DeBoer and co-creator Matthew Gurka, PhD, from the University of Florida hope to incorporate the new technology in electronic medical records, where it could be used to calculate a patient’s risk. The score could then be transferred to the physician, who takes the score into account when making treatment plans, and the patient, who can begin to take preventative steps toward protecting their future from heart disease.

Source: University of Virginia Health System

 

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
FEB 01, 2021
Cardiology
Improving the Lives of Spinal Cord Injury Patients
FEB 01, 2021
Improving the Lives of Spinal Cord Injury Patients
Spinal cord injury patients obviously have to deal with the loss of function, but another, less obvious problem many of ...
MAR 02, 2021
Cardiology
Creating a Light Switch in the Heart to Regulate Heart Rate
MAR 02, 2021
Creating a Light Switch in the Heart to Regulate Heart Rate
Often when it is dark, we go for a flashlight or our phone to see where we are going. What if I told you that is much th ...
APR 01, 2021
Health & Medicine
Flavanol-rich Foods Protect Heart from Stress
APR 01, 2021
Flavanol-rich Foods Protect Heart from Stress
Drinking hot cocoa is comforting on cold winter nights, and new research from the University of Birmingham shows that it ...
APR 08, 2021
Immunology
It's Not Just Cholesterol That Clogs Arteries
APR 08, 2021
It's Not Just Cholesterol That Clogs Arteries
Researchers have discovered a gene that is directly linked to the development of cardiovascular diseases, such as high b ...
MAY 04, 2021
Cardiology
Does Sleep Apnea Affect Blood Pressure During REM Sleep?
MAY 04, 2021
Does Sleep Apnea Affect Blood Pressure During REM Sleep?
Sleep is a time for your body to rest and recover from the day. Your heart slows down, and your breathing relaxes.   ...
JUL 07, 2021
Cardiology
Wealth Changes Linked to Heart Health Differences
JUL 07, 2021
Wealth Changes Linked to Heart Health Differences
Changes in a person's financial state have been recognized as a major cause of stress . Now researchers have found inves ...
Loading Comments...