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Self-Rated Health May Not Indicate Cardiovascular Disease Risk


Self-rated health refers to an individual’s personal evaluation of their overall health status based on their diet, exercise regimen, and how often they get sick. According to a new study though, self-rated health may not be a good indicator of a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.





For their analysis, the researchers used data from 6,764 participants who took part in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. The participants were between the ages of 45 and 84 and did not have cardiovascular disease at baseline. At the beginning of the study, the participants rated their health as excellent, very good, good, or poor/fair. They also had a coronary artery calcium scan, which detects plaque buildup in the heart.





The researchers followed the participants for an average of 13.2 years, and tracked hard coronary heart disease events, hard cardiovascular disease events, and all-cause mortality. Heart disease risk was calculated using the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk Calculator.





The researchers found that participants who initially reported being in excellent health had a 45% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 42% lower risk of hard coronary heart disease events, compared with those who initially rated their health as poor/fair. However, 10% of the participants who rated themselves in excellent health had measurable evidence of cardiovascular disease without symptoms, which puts them at a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.





The researchers noted that their findings highlight the need for assessment of cardiovascular disease risk for everyone, regardless of their self-rated health score.





The study was conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. It was published February 15, 2019 in the journal Cardiology.


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