Heart disease cases continue to grow, even though there is much evidence to support that living a healthy lifestyle may reduce your risk of heart disease.
One measure that is often recommended to moderate heart disease and reduce stroke risk is taking an aspirin a day, alongside statins and blood-regulating medications. New research findings from Stanford suggest this may not be the best decision and that many doctors are incorrectly prescribing these medications.
Many patients are evaluated for heart disease risk by being asked a slew of questions from their doctors – known as pooled cohort equations. These questions were compiled from individuals aged 30 to 64 in 1948 – clearly some time has passed, yet not much has changed in regards to heart disease assessment.
Co-author of the study Sanjay Basu explained, “A lot has changed in terms of diets, environments, and medical treatment since the 1940s. So, relying on our grandparents’ data to make our treatment choices is probably not the best idea.”
Using old questions could result in either over or under medication, according to Basu. He added that many white Americans are overmedicated, while African Americans are often undermedicated. This is because back in the 40s, many of these studies did not include a large black demographic, so research findings often didn’t reflect black Americans.
In order to rectify this situation, new studies are being conducted to include more ethnicities and ask improved questions to better improve diagnosis of heart disease and highlight risk factors.
In the meantime, if you’re taking medications for heart disease, don’t just stop them without your doctor’s consent.