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New PAHO app for heart disease risk

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

New PAHO app for heart disease risk

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WASHINGTON – The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) will today launch a new app for mobile devices and computers that calculates the risk of cardiovascular disease among Caribbean nationals.

​The launch will take place in recognition of World Heart Day, celebrated yearly on September 29.

The app is based on a World Health Organisation (WHO) formula for estimating cardiovascular risk that is appropriate for most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“This tool helps health-care professionals rapidly assess their patients’ situation and discuss strategies with them to lower their probability of experiencing one of these events,” said Dr Pedro Ordúñez, PAHO’s adviser on cardiovascular diseases.

PAHO said the tool is not meant to replace consultation with a physician, but it is user-friendly for non–health professionals as well.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and in most countries of the Americas, including the Caribbean, where it kills 1.6 million people each year.

Persons with hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol are more likely to suffer a
heart-related event.

“Knowing one’s cardiovascular risk can motivate people to take steps to lower that risk, for example, by being more active, avoiding tobacco use, and consuming a healthy, low-salt diet rich in vegetables and fresh foods,” PAHO said.

The Cardiovascular Risk Calculator app, which can be downloaded free of charge, offers advice to modify habits that contribute to higher risk.

It allows users to see how their cardiovascular risk would change if certain risk factors were modified.

Six variables are used to calculate the probability of experiencing a cardiovascular event in the next ten years: age, sex, blood pressure, cholesterol level, whether the user is a smoker, and whether he or she has diabetes.

The app, developed by PAHO/WHO with the GEDIC group and Pixeloide, also allows users to calculate their body mass index (normal, overweight, or obese) and provides reminders to take medication on time and as prescribed. (CMC)