Risk assessment of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is shifting from the relative risk to an absolute risk approach. The residual lifetime risk (LTR), which provides an absolute risk assessment, is an epidemiologic measure that expresses the probability of someone of a given age and sex developing a disease condition during their remaining lifespan. The LTR estimation is important because it could be more easily comprehended by clinicians and patients. The LTR for CVD was not estimated for the Japanese population until recently, when the LTR of stroke and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) was reported. The reported LTR of stroke and AMI for middle-aged adults is substantial. The observed probabilities illustrated that approximately 1 in 5 men and women of middle age will suffer from a stroke in their remaining lifetime. On the other hand, approximately 1 in 6 men and 1 in 9 women of middle age will suffer from AMI in their remaining lifetime. Aaginst the backdrop of the aging population and worsening risk factor scenario, these estimates re-emphasize that CVD is a public health burden that requires preventive interventions. These estimates provide a means to communicate the absolute risk of CVD to the lay population, policy makers, as well as health service providers in predicting the disease burden of CVD. This easily comprehended knowledge can be used as an important index to assist in public health education and planning.
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