How Great Is Your Risk Of A Heart Attack Or Stroke?

assess your heart risk

Did you know that you can calculate your individual risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years? This prediction is based on vast amounts of statistical data collected from population studies and is scarily accurate. If you have the results of a recent health check-up (blood pressure and cholesterol levels) you can predict your own risk on-line. If you prefer, of course, you can ask your doctor to do this for you (they may use a slightly different calculation provided via their own medical software).



Heart risk calculation based on UK data

Calculate_1Your risk of a heart attack or stroke over the next ten years is calculated from your age, gender, ethnicity, smoking and diabetes status, systolic blood pressure (upper level), height, weight and cholesterol balance (cholesterol/HDL ratio which is calculated by dividing your total cholesterol level by your HDL level).

You will also be asked about certain health conditions (eg diabetes, chronic kidney disease, atrial fibrillation or rheumatoid arthritis) and family history of antina or heart attack, which can affect your risk. Any factors you don’t know the answer to can be left blank, but this may reduce the accuracy of the calculation.

The risk calculation is most accurate if you are aged 25 to 84 years, live in the UK and can insert your postcode. You can still use it if you live outside the UK or don’t know your postcode, but the calculation is then based on average values, and may under-estimate your risk if you live in a deprived area, and over-estimate your risk of you live in an affluent area.

The calculation is valid for people who do not already have a diagnosis of heart disease or stroke.

Click here to visit QRISK



Heart risk calculation based on US data

A simpler calculation is based on data from the long running Framingham Heart Study in the United States. To predict your risk of a heart attack in the next 10 years, insert your total, HDL and LDL cholesterol (in mg/dl), triglycerides, systolic blood pressure (upper number) and diastolic blood pressure (lower number) and whether or not you are taking any medication to treat high blood pressure. Then insert your birth date, gender and whether or not you are a smoker or have diabetes.

The calculation is valid for adults aged 20 years or over, who do not already have heart disease or diabetes.

Click here to see the American College of Cardiology CardioSmart Heart Disease Risk Assessment tool.

Looking for more heart health tips?

10_thingsThis is just one of the tips included in my free factsheet, 10 Things To Ask About Heart Health, which you can download free by signing up to my newsletter using the form in the side bar.

If your blood pressure is raised, self-monitoring is key to maintaining good control.

Click here for advice on choosing a blood pressure monitor to use at home.

See my recommended upper arm blood pressure monitors.

Image credit:g-stockstudio /shutterstock




About DrSarahBrewer

Dr Sarah Brewer qualified from Cambridge University with degrees in Natural Sciences, Medicine and Surgery. After working in general practice, she gained a master's degree in nutritional medicine from the University of Surrey. Sarah is a licensed Medical Doctor, a Registered Nutritionist and a Registered Nutritional Therapist. She is an award winning author of over 60 popular self-help books and a columnist for Prima magazine.



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6 thoughts on “How Great Is Your Risk Of A Heart Attack Or Stroke?

  • larry

    Do you know of any sites or apps where I could enter in my information and get statistics for certain age groups and the risk they may have for a heart attack. As I get a little older I do think getting checked for high blood pressure and other relevant test is a good idea. Thank you.

  • Roger

    Dr. Brewer,

    Thank you for the easy-to-use calculator! I was surprised (and relieved) to learn my risk is NOT as high as I might have feared (9%).

    And I’ll work on lowering that risk even further!

    I love all the in-depth health data and information.

    Roger

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Thanks Roger. Glad your risk is low – don’t celebrate with too much beer though! If there’s anything else you’d like me to cover here, let me know.

  • Dana

    Thank you for the online calculators! My risk is very low at this point but I come from a family with heart diseases, my mum had a heart attack before the age of 60 (but she’s been a smoker all her life). My doctor found out my total cholesterol was 6.4 during a regular checkup, so that kind of freaked me out at first. I’m trying to eat more healthy and have started working out regularly in the last two and half months.

    I could only use the UK one because the US one only allows > 130mg/dl overall cholesterol. 🙂

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      The UK calculator gives a reasonable estimate for non-UK residents based on population averages. I will look for another calculator for US that goes higher. thanks for the feedback.