Researchers have recently developed and validated an online health calculator called the Cardiovascular Disease Population Risk Tool (CVDPoRT) that can help people check their risk of heart disease and their heart age.
The CVDPoRT analyzes factors that can affect a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease, such as lifestyle behaviors, health status, education and ethnicity.
“What sets this cardiovascular risk calculator apart is that it looks at healthy living, and it is better calibrated to the Canadian population,” says lead author Dr. Doug Manuel, senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital, senior core scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and a professor at the University of Ottawa.
Employing a “big data” strategy, researchers analyzed data that was gathered from 104, 219 Ontario residents who participated in the Canadian Community Health Surveys from 2001 to 2007.
The data was connected to Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) data on deaths and hospitalization.
The participants’ age varied from 20 to 105 years old.
The CVDPoRT also examines several factors, including age, smoking status and lifetime exposure, sense of belonging, stress, physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption and health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
It gives people an accurate prediction regarding their risk of hospitalization or death due to cardiovascular disease within the next five years.
“A lot of people are interested in healthy living, but often we don’t have that discussion in the doctor’s office,” said Dr. Manuel.
“Doctors will check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but they don’t necessarily ask about lifestyle factors that could put you at risk of a heart attack and stroke. We hope this tool can help people—and their care team—with better information about healthy living and options for reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke,” he added.
In Canada, cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death, even though death risks are reversible when there are changes in lifestyle.
Stil, many people are oblivious of their cardiovascular risk until they undergo a cardiac event that may be terminal.
Although the CVDPoRT is created for the Canadian population, it can be modified for other countries that gather health survey data.
Details regarding the online tool were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.