Post-menopausal women may be at significantly greater risk of heart problems, but knowing their family history and taking a simple blood test may help save lives.
That's according to a study in part by Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Researchers there say that although the heart attack death rate for men has dropped steadily over the past two decades, it has hardly changed among women.
"For at least 25 percent of people, the first sign of a heart disease is sudden death, so we don't get a second chance with them," says Dr. Roger Blumenthal, Cardiologist at Johns Hopkins University.
So now, they are suggesting the outlook for women could improve dramatically if doctors would simply ask about family history, and give them a blood test that looks for the presence of what's called the c-reactive protein. Which is linked to inflammation which can damage the arteries.
The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that researchers assessed 35 potential risk factors for heart disease among nearly 25,000 women. And they used that to create new mathematical models that can actually predict the risk for heart trouble among post-menopausal women.
As a result, there is a new web site available to help women calculate their risk. Based on these new factors. If you'd like to take the test yourself, women and their doctors can visit http://www.reynoldsriskscore.org together to determine heart disease risk.