My Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment FAQ's
What will I learn from taking the Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment™?
The Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment will give you the opportunity to take an inventory of many facets of your health. The assessment looks at:
- factors you can't change or control, such as age, gender, ethnicity and family medical history
- risk factors for poor health and chronic disease that you can change or control, such as physical activity, diet, smoking and stress
- conditions that increase your risk of heart disease and stroke such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol,
- any chronic conditions or diseases such as asthma or arthritis where you primarily access health care
After completing the Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment, you will receive a comprehensive Health Assessment Report outlining your health strengths or advantages, as well as where you could make improvements. If you have any chronic conditions, the Health Assessment Report will also provide links to disease-specific information.
What information do I need before I start?
The Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment is easy to use. You should be able to answer most or all of the questions without having to find specific medical information. For example, to answer the blood pressure question, you don't need to know your current blood pressure measurements. Instead, you will be asked whether you have ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure or prescribed medication to control it.
The only "hard measurements" you will need concern your weight. To determine whether you are at a healthy weight, you will be asked to give your height (in inches or centimetres), weight (in pounds or kilograms) and waist measurement (in inches or centimetres). If you don't know your waist measurement, there is a link to a video that shows you how to accurately measure it.
Who should complete the Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment?
The Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment is designed for everyone over the age of 18. Results are not considered accurate for youth and children.
How is the Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment different from other health assessments on the internet?
The Health Assessment Report was built with the collaboration of behavioural scientists; and incorporates the Transtheoretical Model of Change. It recognizes that not everyone is ready to make changes at the same time or for all of their risk factors. Each report is tailored to reflect each participant's individual situation. For example, you may be ready to make some changes right away - but need more time before taking on others. Your Health Assessment Report will give tips and advice you can use whenever you are ready to start making changes.
What determines a "risk factor"?
Risk factors are identified by comparing the percentage of people who develop heart disease or stroke between two groups: those with the risk factor (for example, people who smoke) and those who don't have the risk factor (people who don't smoke). All the risk factors included in the Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment have been shown to increase the risk of developing heart disease or stroke in repeated studies from around the world.
If I have a risk factor, does that mean I will develop heart disease or stroke?
Not necessarily. Risk factors are based on comparing groups of people: those with a risk factor and those without it. The odds developed from this type of research tell us the average risk for people in the group. It cannot predict what will happen to any one individual within that group. Your individual risk of heart disease and stroke depends on a wide variety of factors.
Changing your behavior to control your risk factors will mean that, on average, you will reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. However, this is only an average. Again, it is not possible to accurate predict what will happen to any one individual.
Why doesn't the Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment give me a score?
Assessments that produce a score and calculate the 10-year or lifetime risk of heart disease are only appropriate for adults who are currently free of heart disease and stroke. The Heart and Stroke Foundation wanted to give all adults – including those who already have been told they have heart disease or have had a stroke or "mini-stroke" – the opportunity to look at their health.