BOSTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers have devised a Web-based formula called the Reynolds Risk Score that more accurately predicts risk of heart attack or stroke among women.
In addition to usual risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking, the new Reynolds Risk Score adds information on two new factors, family history of heart attack prior to age 60 and blood level of C-reactive protein, a measure of artery inflammation, according to lead author Dr. Paul Ridker of the Brigham and Women's Hospital.
"One of the problems cardiologists and preventive physicians face is that we often underestimate women's risk for heart disease and stroke. With the new Reynolds Risk Score, we found many women to be at substantially higher risk than anticipated," said Ridker. "That's an enormous opportunity for prevention because if physicians can accurately tell a women in her 30's or 40's about true lifetime risk, they've got a much better chance of motivating her to stop smoking, get regular exercise, reduce her blood pressure, and where indicated, start a statin or aspirin regimen."
Using the Reynolds Risk Score, many women were correctly re-classified at high risk, while others had their level of risk reduced, according to Ridker.