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Heart Disease Risk Calculator: Due for an Update?

by Peter Jaret  

Recommendations for preventing heart disease are based on an individual’s current risk of heart problems over the next 10 years. A simple risk calculator, developed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, is available online.

But while the calculator is widely used, even by researchers, it remains controversial because it may overstate the risk for some people and understate it for others. One reason may be that the calculator doesn’t take into account recent advances in prevention that have lowered the risk of many people.

For now, the calculator is a good place to start to estimate your risk of heart disease. But your doctor can add important data, such as your personal health history and family history of heart disease, to refine your individual risk estimate.

This article first appeared in the December 2018 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.