Researchers from the Miguel Hernández University (UMH) of Elche create a scale to measure the risk of dying from cardiovascular causes in women over 50 years of age. Experts have taken some variables such as diet, hours of sleep or if they consume tobacco, among others, that could be behind the increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular causes in the next 6 years of women of menopausal age.
And how to know the risk? The Grincava Cardiovascular Research Group of the Elche campus has developed this tool in the form of a scale that would represent an advance in the knowledge of heart disease in women, historically less studied than in men. This study was published in 2021 in the Spanish Journal of Cardiology.
The UMH researchers followed up the health status and mortality of 5,953 women for 6 years, by crossing the National Health Survey and the national mortality registry. This sample, they explain, adequately represents the entire population of women over 50 years of age in Spain.
With a mathematical model, the researchers identified the factors to take into account to identify the risk of dying from heart disease, such as age, Visual Analog Scale (VAS) of general health status, tobacco use, daily hours of sleep , main activity during the day, consumption of vegetables, having diabetes and having been admitted to a hospital in the last year. With these data they generated a table that assigns a value to each risk factor.
The scale is very simple to use, since a score is obtained through the table and the probability of death due to cardiovascular disease in the next 6 years can be consulted in a risk table.
For example, for an 85-year-old woman (whose factor is valued at 5 points) with a VAS health of 80 (0 points), a smoker (1 point), who sleeps an average of 8 hours (0 points), spends most of his day sitting (2 points) and eats vegetables 3 times a week (0 points), without diabetes (0 points) and who has had a hospital admission in the last year (1 point) adds a total of 9 points, which corresponds to a risk of mortality from cardiovascular causes in the next 6 years of 33%.
If this woman were to stop smoking (she would subtract 1 point) and were more active in her daily life (she would subtract 2 points), her risk of death would drop from 33% to 5.4%, which highlights the great importance of having good life habits.
The developers of this model explain that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. However, they acknowledge that cardiovascular disease has historically been investigated mainly in men “and these conclusions have been applied to both men and women, despite the fact that there is a marked difference by sex in risk factors, symptoms, in the evolution and prognosis”, they point out. For this reason, they explain, specific studies of cardiovascular disease in women are necessary.
The recently created Grincava Cardiovascular Research Group is directed by the Professor of Clinical Medicine at the UMH José Antonio Quesada and is made up of professors from the Department of Clinical Medicine at the UMH, renowned cardiologists such as Vicente Bertomeu González and Juan Miguel Ruiz-Nodar , the expert pediatric cardiologist Francisco Sánchez Ferrer and Professor Adriana López, an expert in research methods.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.