Monday, January 29, 2007

Calculator Helps Users Gauge Heart Attack Risk

(HealthDay News) -- A new online heart disease risk calculator that can help you understand and gauge your heart attack risk is available from the Mayo Clinic.

The risk calculator on asks several questions about your lifestyle and health and then determines your 10-year risk of a heart attack. The risk score is based on a number of factors, such as age, gender, tobacco use, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

You can find the risk calculator by heading to and looking under "Heart Disease Risk Factors," in the Web site's Heart Disease Center.

About one in 10 people with a risk level of 12 percent will have a heart attack or die of heart disease within the next 10 years, experts say.

Here are five heart disease prevention tips:
  • Don't smoke or use tobacco products.
  • Get exercise. Regular, moderately vigorous physical activity can reduce the risk of fatal heart disease by 25 percent. Combining physical activity with other positive lifestyle habits, such as maintaining a health weight, can provide even more heart health benefits.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Legumes, low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish may also help reduce heart disease risk.
  • Limit intake of saturated fats and trans fat.
  • Watch your weight.
  • Excess pounds can lead to conditions -- high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes -- that increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Get regular blood pressure and cholesterol screenings.
  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your cardiovascular system, including your heart.

More information
There's more on reducing heart disease risk factors at the American Heart Association.

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