AHA cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines - American Heart Association

Author: Carrie Morantz, Brian Torrey
Date: Sept 15, 2002

The American Heart Association (AHA) has updated its recommendations for cardiovascular disease prevention. "AHA Guidelines for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke: 2002 Update" appear in the July 15 issue of Circulation.

To avert a first heart attack or stroke, physicians should begin "risk factor screening" as early as age 20 to assess patients' general risk of developing cardiovascular disease or strokes. Risk factor screening includes measuring blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference, and pulse at least every two years and ordering cholesterol profiles and glucose testing at least every five years, beginning at age 20.

The AHA also recommends that physicians estimate the "global risk" of developing cardiovascular disease in the next decade for people age 40 years and older, or for anyone who has two or more risk factors.

Global risk estimation combines information from all existing risk factors to determine a person's percentage of risk for developing cardiovascular disease over 10 years. Multiple areas of slight risk can be more important than one area of very high risk. This estimation is recommended every five years for people age 40 years or older or for anyone with two or more risk factors.

The updated guidelines incorporate new findings and expert opinions that have emerged since the AHA published the recommendations in 1997. The guidelines also reflect recent data on the degree of risk imposed by specific risk factors and new efforts to categorize people more specifically according to their number and types of risk factors.

The AHA update integrates recommendations from other guideline-issuing organizations, such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

COPYRIGHT 2002 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

 
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