UC Irvine researchers say heart test offers hint about lung disease risk

May 02, 2012
Nathan Wong, PhD, is director of the UC Irvine Heart Disease Prevention Program and is the editor and chief of "Preventive Cardiology."

A simple test for heart disease risk can go a long way toward determining the long-term prognosis for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to UC Irvine researchers.

Dr. Hwa Mu Lee and Nathan Wong of the UC Irvine Heart Disease Prevention Program found that individuals with moderate to severe COPD who had a low Framingham Heart Study 10-year risk assessment rate lived longer and healthier than COPD patients who scored high on the heart test.

Study results point to the importance of cardiovascular health for those with COPD and strongly suggest that heart disease risk evaluations be part of the diagnostic and treatment procedures for lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis that affect 64 million people worldwide and are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.

“We’re learning that addressing cardiac risk factors may significantly improve outcomes in persons with COPD,” said Wong, program director and a professor of cardiology and epidemiology. “The connection between these two diseases is under appreciated.”

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