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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Cardiac Biomarkers. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Patients with hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, poor nutrition and diet, are overweight, smoke, and/or are physically-inactive are at greater risk for heart disease and AMI. Family history, gender, and lifestyle also contribute to this risk.
Since lifestyle is so strongly correlated to cardiovascular health, we are familiar with public awareness and educational campaigns that promote exercise and healthy diet. Perhaps no other area of laboratory testing is more familiar to the public than lipid testing; many patients know their target LDL and total cholesterol concentrations.
Laboratorians should be familiar with the Framingham Risk Score. This is a score which tells how likely the patient is to have an adverse cardiovascular event (such as an AMI,) in the next 10 years. The score is based on a large population study and factors only the patient's sex, age, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes status and smoking status. You can find Framingham risk calculators online. The Framingham Risk score is a good example of how powerful lifestyle (smoking, blood pressure, etc.,) and laboratory factors can be in determining one's cardiovascular risk.