The Framingham Risk Score is the current diagnostic tool used to assess your heart health and became the method of choice over 50 years ago. It works by identifying common risk factors such as age, gender, smoking, cholesterol and blood pressure.
While these individual factors do play a role in identifying heart disease and management thereof is important, there are better ways of measuring your heart health – your coronary calcification score. A coronary calcification score will aggregate the information from some of the risk factors above and is the most powerful predictor of future cardiovascular events. It will enable you to know if you have heart disease or not.
If you do have heart disease, the test will accurately determine the level of calcification. This test is a far better diagnostic than all current methods yet people don’t know about it and its availability is not widespread in Ireland.
Currently, based on each individual’s risk factors, you will be categorized as either having low, medium or high risk of heart disease and your treatment regime will be dependent on which group you are allocated to. However, as calcification scoring is not included in the risk assessment, a large piece of the jigsaw puzzle is missing in terms of understanding the extent of your heart disease and whether you will experience a heart attack or stroke in the future.
The majority of heart attacks currently occur in the middle risk group however the calcification test would clear up 75% of the middle risk group, reassigning them to either the low or high risk groups where there treatment can be adjusted accordingly.