A new Australian system for calculating heart disease and stroke risk was launched a couple of months ago, and we can enter our own data to see where we stand.
Until it was developed, risk calculation for Australians was based on decades-old American data, so this model should provide far more accurate information.
It’s called CVD Check and it targets those of us aged between 45 and 79. For people with diabetes the age range is 35 to 79, and it’s younger again for First Nations people.
While CVD Check is intended for health professionals to use with their patients, if you know your typical systolic blood pressure (the top number), you can try it yourself.
You’ll also need the ratio between your total cholesterol and HDL, which was probably included on your last blood test for cholesterol.
This system doesn’t cover everything that’s relevant — there’s nowhere to record stress levels or mental health concerns, for example — but on the strength of a few key indicators it calculates whether your risk of cardiovascular disease in the next five years is high (10% or more), intermediate (5% to <10%) or low (<5%).
It also gives your GP the capacity to reclassify your risk if there are other circumstances, such as mental health issues, that would alter the CVD Check assessment.
In addition, it provides advice on what to do depending on your level of risk. One advantage of going through the process might be that it raises questions you want to discuss with your doctor.
You can find the new guideline information and calculator at cvdcheck.org.au.
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