Cardiovascular risk

Assessing cardiovascular risk

Optimal cardiovascular risk assessment allows doctors to adjust treatment in high-risk patients at an early stage.

Traditional cardiovascular risk factors

Currently cardiovascular risk management is mainly based on a review of traditional risk factors such as blood pressure, lipid levels (cholesterol), HbA1c and family history.
High blood pressure or hypertension is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. An increased blood pressure leads the heart to work harder, which makes the heart and arteries more susceptible to injury. There are a number of anti-hypertensive drugs available to lower the blood pressure.
Lipids include cholesterol, cholesterol esters, phospholipids, and triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in combination with low levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with atherosclerosis (the buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls that increases the risk for heart attack and stroke). Hyperlidemia can be treated with a drug-class called ‘statins’.
These traditional risk factors are most commonly used to assess the cardiovascular risk of a patient. Although these risk factors are very important deteminants of cardiovascular risk, they do not always explain the increased cardiovascular risk in diabetes and renal failure patients.
Read more about risk scores for cardiovascular events
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Non-invasive cardiovascular risk assessment
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