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Heart Disease and the Framingham Study

Heart disease that can consist of coronary heart disease, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and congenital heart disease is reported to be the leading cause death for men and women in the United States which is one of the reasons it is becoming recognized as a national problem. With the inclusion of high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol it is estimated that about 60 million Americans have a cardiovascular disease (CVD).

 

In 1948, scientists and participants set out on an ambitious project to identify the risk factors for heart disease. During this time very little was known about the general causes of heart disease and stroke but it was becoming immediately recognized that the death rates from CVD was steadily increasing and becoming an American epidemic.1

The goal of the Framingham Heart Study was to help identify the factors and contributors to CVD by following participants (5,209 men and women between the ages of 30 and 62) from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts over an extended period of time who had not developed CVD or experienced a heart attack or stroke.2

Additional efforts were made to the study in 1971, 1994, and 2002 with new generations of participants. Throughout the years, the Framingham Study has identified the major CVD risk factors that can include:

These risk factors can be modified by those who wish to minimize or reduce their risk. The identification of this major CVD risks has been recognized as the cornerstone of CVD and the strategies that are employed for prevention and treatment in clinical practice settings.2

To date, the Framingham Heart Study continues to serve as a critical element towards achieving a better understanding of CVD and assisting with the development of diagnostic tools for the condition.

While cardiovascular disease is still recognized as a national problem that is the leading cause of illness and death in the United States, the performance of the Framingham Heart Study serves as the foundation for addressing this issue.


Abimbola Farinde, PhD is a healthcare professional and professor who has gained experience in the field and practice of mental health, geriatrics, and pharmacy. She has worked with active duty soldiers with dual diagnoses of a traumatic brain injury and a psychiatric disorder providing medication therapy management and disease state management. Dr. Farinde has also worked with mentally impaired and developmentally disabled individuals at a state supported living center. Her different practice experiences have allowed her to develop and enhance her clinical and medical writing skills over the years. Dr. Farinde always strives to maintain a commitment towards achieving professional growth as she transitions from one phase of her career to the next.

References

  1. Scutchfield & Keck, 2003
  2. Framingham Heart Study, 2016

MFN Contributing Author