It is not difficult to calculate a person’s Framingham cardiovascular risk score. The Framingham risk for ten different categories of cardiovascular disease (CVD) can be scored. Each category of CVD potential has its own unique set of 5 to 10 risk factors or predictors. The method of calculating the Framingham risk score is summarized below, and a detailed example will demonstrate how to determine a specific risk score.
Summary of the Calculation Method
To calculate a person’s Framingham risk score for one of the categories, a score for each of the predictors in that category is obtained from a table for each predictor. Then, the scores for those predictors are simply added up to get a total risk score. Using another table, the risk score equates to a percentage risk that the person develops the CVD associated with that category. The tables for both the predictors and for the risk percentage are different for each CVD category.
A Specific Framingham Risk Score Calculation
This example will score the 10-year risk of developing coronary heart disease. The predictors, or risk factors, for this category are: age, diabetes, smoking, blood pressure, LDL or total cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol.
The subject for this example will be a hypothetical 62-year-old male who does not smoke and has been diagnosed with diabetes. His current blood pressure is 135/95, his total cholesterol reading is 220 mg/dL, while his HDL reading is 50 mg/dL and his LDL reading is 135 mg/dL.
According to the tables for each predictor, his risk factor scores are:
- 5 for Age,
- 2 for Diabetes,
- 0 for Smoking,
- 2 for Blood pressure,
- 1 for LDL or total cholesterol, and
- 0 for HDL cholesterol.
His total of 10 is his Framingham risk score. This translates to a 25% risk of developing coronary heart disease in the next 10 years.
Other Categories and Risk Factors
The Framingham risk score can be calculated for a other categories of CVD risk including Atrial Fibrillation, Congestive Heart Failure, General CVD, Hard Coronary Heart Disease, Recurring Coronary Heart Disease, Intermittent Claudication, Stroke, Stroke after Atrial Fibrillation.
These categories use some additional risk factors in the calculation of the Framingham risk score including gender, body mass index, hypertension, murmur, heart rate, valve disease, prior CVD, prior stroke, atrial fibrillation, heart capacity, LVH on ECG, and requiring treatment or medicine for hypertension.
In summary, calculating the Framingham risk score requires some basic information and test results. While obtaining a score is not difficult, it should always be performed under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.