So medicine has come up with a series of charts, tables and measures that predict just how likely you are to get a heart attack. They're great for doctors, too, who use them to bully patients into a change of diet, an exercise programme and especially a powerful heart drug such as a statin or an antihypertensive.
Unfortunately, the predictive charts are hopeless at getting it right, as researchers have just discovered. People who are at greater risk of heart disease often get marked down as low risk patients, and vice versa.
As a result, the wrong people are being prescribed drugs, while those who may benefit from some heart health regime are being ignored.
(Source: Heart, 2006; 92: 1752-9).
E-news broadcast 21 December 2006 No.320 [Subscribe]