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A team of researchers conducted a study to determine whether the same methods used to test for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) will work for obese persons the same way that they work in healthy patients.

Yale’s cardiovascular medicine professor Rohan Khera was the lead researcher in the study. They found that determining the risk level of heart disease by evaluating risk factors is an efficient approach for most people. The findings favor pooled cohort equations (PCEs) as risk prediction measures that allow medical practitioners to make decisions on preventative care and treatment approaches.

Dr. Khera stated that the research findings prove that weight should not be a factor to consider when making decisions on risk minimization strategies in obese individuals. The PCEs method was introduced seven years ago as a tool for cardiovascular disease risk assessment. The method evaluates various patient attributes such as their blood pressure levels, diabetes and hypertension status, cholesterol levels, smoking status, race, sex, and age. Doctors use the data to prescribe treatment or to help people choose the best preventative strategy that will keep cardiovascular disease away.

The research featured eight longitudinal studies with 37,311 adult participants in total. The researchers picked subjects who were free of cardiovascular disease from different classes on the obesity spectrum and observed them for a decade. The 10-year-period allowed scientists to collect a lot of data, particularly using PCEs to predict the level of risk or likelihood of contracting heart disease.

The study’s significance

The researchers compared the risk assessment data collected during the 10 years against the rate at which patients develop the disease. They also revealed that PCEs overestimated ASCVD risk in extremely obese individuals by 10 years.

As far as the significance of the study findings is concerned, it is easier to prevent, diagnose, and even treat heart disease if the detection methods involved are common across most if not all the patients. Obesity is associated with a higher risk of contracting illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. However, the latest study shows that despite the higher predisposition to those diseases in obese individuals, the same testing measures still apply for almost everyone.