By: Diana Barnes-Brown for Heart1
Researchers of the Framingham Heart Study in Framingham, Massachusetts have invented a questionnaire that they say will help patients learn their own risk of developing heart disease after providing a few simple answers.
To complete the questionnaire, patients must fill out a one-page form asking for information about factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking. Patients can fill out the questionnaire either by hand or on a computer, and as long as they have the necessary data on hand, their score can be processed immediately and either sent to doctors or used by patients themselves to aid in the practice of good heart health.
The questionnaire has the potential to provide advantages for patients and caregivers both, because it offers a single “universal” number rather than a series of complex test results that have to be reinterpreted every time they are examined. Also, the questionnaire gives patients a reading of where their own numbers are in comparison to those belonging to people with a clean bill of health.
The assessment technique is still a novelty in the medical community, but if it is found to be an accurate indicator over time, it could be instrumental in making heart risk assessment much easier and far more efficient. It also has the potential to help the average patient get more involved in his or her heart health, by turning a range of confusing information into an informative, easy-to-interpret number on a relativity scale.
The Framingham Heart Study is a research project that began roughly 50 years ago, thanks to the U.S. Public Health Service’s decision to base their epidemiological heart health study in the area. Since then, it has grown with the help of funding and researchers from the National Heart Institute (now known as the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) and the Boston University School of Medicine. The Study has been responsible for a number of influential findings regarding heart health and risk factors.
Source: Framingham Heart Study