Routine Blood Tests to Predict Risk of Chronic Diseases

Routine Blood Tests to Predict Risk of Chronic Diseases

Health In Focus
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Highlights:
  • The new Intermountain Chronic Disease Risk Score, or ICHRON is developed by combining results from routine blood tests and the patients' age.
  • It predicts a person's chance of developing a chronic condition like diabetes or heart disease within three years of the test.
  • ICHRON can be used to identify patients who are at a higher risk of developing a chronic disease and who need more personalized care.
A score that measures the future risk of chronic disease, has been developed by combining data from routine blood tests and the age of the primary care patients.
Routine Blood Tests to Predict Risk of Chronic Diseases

A researcher team from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City has termed this score as the Intermountain Chronic Disease Risk Score, or ICHRON. It can predict a person's risk of first diagnosis of the most common chronic diseases within three years.

This risk score is a simple and inexpensive means to help people improve their lifestyle and prevent or manage chronic conditions.

It also bestows them with the benefit of better emotional and psychological health that result from a healthier lifestyle.

The ICHRON score helps in identifying those patients who are likely to be diagnosed with a chronic disease within three years of testing, with 77%-78% accuracy.

"Our goal was to create a clinical tool that's useful, easily obtainable and doesn't slow the work-flow of our clinicians," said Heidi May, PhD, MSPH, principal investigator of the the study, and a cardiovascular epidemiologist with the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.

Chronic Diseases

In the United States, more than half of the adult population suffers from one or more chronic diseases. It is the leading cause of death and disability.

Most common chronic diseases include diabetes, obesity, kidney failure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, atrial fibrillation, stroke, dementia, arthritis, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, blindness, and lower-limb amputations among adults.

Obesity is another serious emerging health issue. In the year 2009-2010, around 78 million people were obese.

According to CDC estimates, in 2010, chronic diseases were among the top 10 causes of death. In 2012, an estimated 117 million people had been diagnosed with one or more chronic health conditions.

It is predicted that there will be a 40% increase in the burden of chronic disease cases in the next 10 years.

According to WHO, 80% of the deaths related to chronic diseases occurs in the middle and low income countries.

Study

A primary care population consisting of both male and female patients who had no history of a chronic disease, were investigated upon.

ICHRON was developed among one set of primary care patients, and then tested in a second, independent primary care population.

Women who had a moderate ICHRON score were three times more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic disease in 3 years, compared to those with a low ICHRON score, while those who had a high ICHRON score were 11 times more likely to be diagnosed.

Men with a moderate score were 5.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic disease within three years, and those with a high ICHRON score were 14 times more likely to be diagnosed, compared to those with a low ICHRON score.

"We hope ICHRON can be used to help identify patients who are at a higher risk for a chronic disease and therefore need more personalized care. For example, if a patient received a high ICHRON score, the clinician could plan to see the patient more frequently or be more aggressive with treatments," she said. "Or if the patient had a low ICHRON score, they could potentially be seen less often or their care providers could forego a test they were considering."

Benefits of ICHRON Score

Major potential benefits include:
  • Patients will learn to manage or avoid risk of chronic diseases by living healthier lives.
  • The score will help them avoid serious complications such as heart attacks or strokes that result from uncontrolled chronic diseases like high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • The health care costs will decrease dramatically.
"It's a lot less expensive to help patients improve their lifestyles than it is to treat a heart attack -- and that's in addition to all of the physical and emotional benefits that result from healthier lifestyles," said Dr. May. "The ICHRON tool supports Intermountain Healthcare's system effort to use preventive medicine to improve people's health and control healthcare costs."

ICHRON is designed to be calculated by a hospital's electronic health record at low incremental expense.

The results of the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute study will be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session in Washington, D.C.

References:
  1. Chronic Disease Overview - (https:www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/)
  2. Chronic diseases and health promotion - (http://www.who.int/chp/en/)
Source: Medindia

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