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Standard Heart Risk Factors Predict Lifetime Outcomes

Last Updated: June 09, 2009.

TUESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Standard risk factors remain strong predictors of left ventricular mass and cardiovascular disease over the adult life course, according to two studies published online June 8 in Circulation.

In one study, Wolfgang Lieb, M.D., of the Framingham Heart Study in Massachusetts, and colleagues followed 4,217 subjects (average age, 45 years) for 16 years. They found that higher blood pressure, excess adiposity, smoking, and diabetes were strongly associated with left ventricular mass, suggesting that risk factor modification in middle age may decrease the risk of left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure in older age.

In a second study, Michael J. Pencina, Ph.D., of the Framingham Heart Study in Massachusetts, and colleagues followed 4,506 subjects, ages 20 to 59 years, who were free of cardiovascular disease at enrollment. Using a modified Cox model to construct a prediction algorithm to estimate the 30-year risk of "hard" cardiovascular disease (coronary death, myocardial infarction, or stroke), they found that the strongest predictors were male sex, antihypertensive treatment, total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes.

"We hope that the simple way of quantifying 30-year risk of hard cardiovascular disease based on a combination of standard risk factors and additional insights into the nature of their effect presented in this report will complement the currently available 10-year risk algorithms and serve as a useful tool in the clinical and public health settings and provide a useful framework for future research," Pencina and colleagues conclude.

An author of the second study reported a financial relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.

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