Your risk of cardiovascular disease

What’s your 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)?

Several tools are available that enable doctors and patients to calculate vascular age. These suggest there can be a substantial difference between how old you are and how old your blood vessels are. For instance, the vascular age of a 35-year-old man who smokes and has diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol could be as high as 76 years old—more than double his chronological age, according to a recent study. The arteries of a 30-year-old woman with similar risk factors could be equivalent to those of an average woman who is more than 80 years old.

Using the traditional Framingham Risk Score, Mr. Tripoli’s 10-year risk of a heart attack—bolstered by his favorable blood pressure reading—was a low 6%. While keeping vessels young is a focus of the clinic, Mrs. Gordon doesn’t usually calculate a patient’s vascular age. But in this case, she ran Mr. Tripoli’s age, cholesterol numbers and blood pressure through the updated Framingham Heart risk score.

The result: His arteries were equivalent to those of a 64-year-old man.

Step 1: Calculate your cardiovascular risk points

Tally up your points from the six categories below.

Risk Factor Points
Men Women
1. Age
30-34 0 0
35-39 2 2
40-44 5 4
45-49 6 5
50-54 8 7
55-59 10 8
60-64 11 9
65-69 12 10
70-74 14 11
75+ 15 12
2. Total cholesterol
<160 0 0
160-199 1 1
200-239 2 3
240-279 3 4
280+ 4 5
3. HDL cholesterol
<35 2 2
35-44 1 1
45-49 0 0
50-59 -1 -1
60+ -2 -2
4. Choose A or B.
A. Systolic blood pressure (not treated)
<120 -2 -3
120-129 0 0
130-139 1 1
140-149 2 2
150-159 2 4
160+ 3 5
B. Systolic blood pressure (treated)
<120 0 -1
120-129 2 2
130-139 3 3
140-149 4 5
150-159 4 6
160+ 5 7
5. Smoker?
No 0 0
Yes 4 3
6. Diabetes?
No 0 0
Yes 3 4
Your Total

Step 2: Convert points to risk

Find your total points (top row) to determine your vascular age (bottom rows).

Total Points ≤-1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17+
Vascular Age: Men <30 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 45 48 51 54 57 60 64 68 72 76 80+
Vascular Age: Women <30 <30 31 34 36 39 42 45 48 51 55 59 64 68 73 79 80+ 80+ 80+

Source: Framingham Heart Study; Harvard Heart Letter.

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