Know your personal risk for heart attack & stroke

November 20, 2023

Albertans aged 40-75 will now be able to find out what their risk of having a heart attack or stroke will be in the next 10 years using a new cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk screening tool and a simple blood test ordered by their health provider.

Enhanced Lipid Reporting (ELR) is a new, easy-to-use, lab-based approach to calculate CVD and stroke risk that ensures those at risk receive early treatment.

When your doctor does your screening, you will get a score that tells you how likely you are to have a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years if you do not make any changes to reduce your risk. Patients will also receive their CVD risk results in their MyHealth Records account.

You and your doctor can use this personal screening score to plan and take steps to lower your risk and help prevent a heart attack or a stroke.

Everyone has some level of cardiovascular disease risk. Men are usually diagnosed with CVD between 55-64 years of age; and women between 65-74 years of age.

CVD is the second leading cause of death in Alberta, and the number one cause of death for women. Every hour, 12 Canadians over the age of 20 with heart disease die. Managing your risk is important for your health and quality of life. Many heart attacks and strokes can be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and medication when risk is known. Identification of those who are at risk of CVD is an essential first step.

Knowing your personal risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke can help you act to lower your risk by making healthy lifestyle changes and taking prevention medicines. Talk with your healthcare provider to create a plan to help manage any health conditions.

Your risk can be influenced by factors such as:

Where to get help to lower your risk? Starting to make these changes can seem overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. As a first step, talk to your doctor.

To learn more about prevention, connect online to the many supports and resources, including patient videos, guidance on talking with your doctor; the CVD risk screening tool, making lifestyle changes, and more. Heart attacks and strokes are a serious medical emergency, and delaying treatment can have serious consequences. Knowing the signs of a heart attack or stroke and acting fast is important.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Our mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans. Our current focus is on reducing emergency department wait-times, improving EMS response times, increasing access to surgeries, and improving patient flow.