26 October 2013
Have you ever
wondered what the risk for developing a heart attack is in women? Finding out
risk levels will make it easier to assign necessary therapies to eventually
cure a person. To do this, several methods can be used.
famous method to calculate heart attack risk is by using the Framingham Risk
Calculator. Combining your value of good cholesterol (HDL), total cholesterol,
age, blood pressure, smoking status (smoker or not), and gender, doctors are
able to provide a value for risk within a 10-year period for developing or
dying from a heart attack.
For example, a
55-year-old lady with hypertension, who is well treated, with a blood pressure
of 130/78 mm Hg, a total cholesterol level of 240 mg/dl, a good cholesterol 40
mg/dl and who smokes, has a 11 % chance of developing or dying from a heart
attack within the next 10 years.
The value of 11%
means 11 out of 100 people with this level of risk will have a heart attack
within the next 10 years. Doctors consider this example as someone with high
risk, who needs to be on a prescription to lower her level of bad cholesterol.
the method used to calculate the 55-year-old’s risk is based on data gathered
from a town called Framingham in Massachusetts, USA. The risk of someone living
in the USA is very different from someone else living in Lebanon, or anywhere
else. The method used also does not include family history of coronary artery disease,
and does not measure risk very well in women, as determined through several
All in all,
the Framingham Risk Calculator is not the ideal method for calculating risk in
women in Lebanon. Local doctors have found alternatives by measuring the amount
of calcium present in the coronary vessels. Calcium being found in the walls of
coronary vessels is abnormal. Many studies have shown that this is proof of
Women can now
perform safe tests that will calculate the amount of calcium present in the
coronaries, further estimating the amount of atherosclerosis. Coronary calcium
tests perform very well in both men and women, with the risk of having a heart
attack varying according to the value of the calcium score.
Calcium score of 0 = very low risk
Calcium score of 1-99 = low risk
Calcium score of 100-399 = intermediate risk
Calcium score above 400 = high risk
methods are being used in Lebanon to calculate the risk of heart attack in
women in Lebanon, some of which are more accurate than others. Coronary calcium
scoring in particular is safe, reliable and provides better results in women.
Dr.Hussain Isma’eel ,MD,FESC,FSCCT
Co-director,vascular Medecine Program