17 October 2008

Risk factors: crafty numbers

A 65-year-old smoker and his never-smoked peer have approximately equal chances of dying. A thirty-five-year-old healthy person by the age of 45 is five times more likely to die from an accident than from a heart attack, and a thirty-five-year-old woman is twice as likely to die in an accident than to die from breast cancer.

The new data on risks are taken from a study published recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and cover more indicators than any of the previously published ones, since it examined 10 different causes of death among men and women, divided by age categories, as well as by categories of "smoker", "non-smoker", "former smoker."

At first glance, it may seem that smokers and non-smokers have approximately equal chances of dying from a heart attack, but 35-year-old male smokers risk 7 times more than non-smokers of the same age.

The indicators begin to level out with age, when most smokers who do not have typical diseases live to the age of 75.

Professor Lisa Schwartz, one of the authors of the study, believes that the public is often presented with special, "frightening" statistics on certain diseases that do not take into account certain indicators. While the disease itself can pose a serious threat to some people and not threaten others in any way.

Another advantage of the new way of calculating risks, Dr. Schwartz considers considering the risks of people with a 10-year age difference. According to the scientist, most often the risk factors include average data that take into account the entire life expectancy. From this point of view, the risks may look too low or too high. A new way of calculating risks allows you to evaluate all the information and take measures to reduce them.

The material was prepared by the information service Point.RuPortal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru


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