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4 Factors That Increase Odds of Heart Failure

Study Shows Risk Factors Like Excess Weight and Diabetes Can Increase Size of Heart Ventricle

Measuring Heart Risk continued...

The researchers also say that women, over a 16-year period, showed a greater and steeper rate of left ventricular mass increase as they aged. Also, people with diabetes, especially women, had a steep increase in muscle thickening over time.

In a separate study published in the same edition of Circulation, Vasan, Michael J. Pencina, PhD, also of Boston University, and colleagues describe a "calculator" they devised to predict an adult's 30-year risk of experiencing or dying from a heart attack or stroke.

Analyzing data from 4,506 participants in the Offspring study, they concluded that women, on average, had a 7.6% 30-year risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, compared to 18.3% for men. Although excessive weight was not a statistically significant indicator of cardiovascular events in the short term, that changed in the long-term, 30-year outlook.

The calculator "will enable physicians to enter patient data and obtain the 30-year risk estimates for their patients," says Pencina, an associate professor of biostatistics at Boston University. "My hope would be that we can increase awareness of cardiovascular risk in younger people who may have lower 10-year risks but higher 30-year risks, and encourage them to take steps to maintain optimal levels of their risk factors."

As an example, the researchers say a 25-year-old woman who smokes, has high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels has a 1.4% risk, according to the calculator, of suffering a major cardiovascular event by age 35, but a 12% risk by age 55.

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