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Heart Disease 101: Unexpected Risk Factors

Consider this. I’m 31 years old, exercise at least five days per week, sleep at least seven hours every night, eat at least 5 servings of vegetables daily, avoid tobacco, and am near-optimal body composition. According to the American Heart Association’s heart disease risk calculator, I should be on moderate-to-high-dose statin therapy. Why? My systolic blood pressure runs slightly higher than 120mm Hg. That’s all.( In case you were wondering, my diastolic blood pressure is usually in the high 50s or mid 60s, which is considered excellent).The calculator didn’t ask for any of the other information I shared about my lifestyle choices. For its purposes, they don’t matter (or make the cut in its final design). If nothing else, this example at least begs the question of how cardiovascular risk is assessed. What do conventional measures examine, and what else should we be noting in realistically evaluating our potential for heart disease? 


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