QRISK Cardiovascular Disease Calculator
When you attend for an NHS health check, the information we gather from you about your lifestyle together with your blood results, past medical history and postcode, allow us to calculate the chances of you developing cardiovascular disease over the next 10 years. Cardiovascular disease includes angina, heart attacks, and strokes. The calculator does not distinguish between mild or temporary conditions such as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA, often called a ‘mini stroke’) and a more serious or fatal event. It is calculated using the QRisk calculator.
What does my risk mean?
A risk of 10% means that if we checked on 100 people who are very similar to you in 10 years’ time, 10 will have developed some sort of cardiovascular disease. Anything from a mild, temporary problem to a fatal heart attack or stroke. 90 will have not developed cardiovascular disease.
You will have been signposted to this information because your risk is 10% or more. It is recommended that individuals with a risk of 10%-20% make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk. For those who have made lifestyle changes but still have a risk of more than 10% they can consider taking a medication called a statin to try and reduce their risk or delay the onset of cardiovascular disease. If your risk is more than 20%, you can consider starting statin medication at the same time as making lifestyle changes.
The decision on whether to take a statin will depend on your personal attitude to risk and taking medication. It is important to remember that taking a statin is not a substitute for making lifestyle changes – these will always bring the highest benefits to your health.
Statins and ‘number needed to treat’
Some people find it helpful to know how many people need to a take a treatment for one person to benefit – this is called the ‘number needed to treat’. It can be helpful information when deciding on whether to take a statin for the rest of your life.
To prevent one cardiovascular event in people with a risk of 10% 167 would have to be treated with a statin for 5 years. For a risk of 20% the number needed to treat is 67. This means that most people who take a statin derive no benefit (but may experience side effects). This is why it is important to carefully consider whether to start a statin. The Patient Decision Aid produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has some useful information and diagrams to support you. You can visit their Patient Decision Aid page here: Cardiovascular disease: risk assessment and reduction, including lipid modification (nice.org.uk)
If you would like to discuss this further, please make an appointment with one of GPs.