Determine YOUR Risk of a Heart Attack

By Hans Diehl, M.D.

Seeing is Believing...

This HeartScreen heart attack risk factor test will help you identify and understand your own risk factors for coronary heart disease, and guide you in dealing with them. It will also approximate your relative risk and will help you identify areas that you may want to work on.


In this test, eight modifiable risk factors for a heart attack are listed, and scores from 1 to 8 are assigned to each factor.

  • For each of the 8 risk factors in Table 1, read across the row horizontally until you find the column that applies to you.
  • Select the numeric value in the lime green row that applies to the column you are in.
  • โˆ™ Place the numeric value in the same risk factor row of Table 2.
  • โˆ™ After evaluating all 8 risk factors, tally your score in Table 2.
  • Under the Value column of Table 3, select the row that corresponds to the sum of the risks you determined in Table 2.


Table 1. HeartScreenSelf Scoring Test of Heart Attack and Stoke Risk

Risk Factor 0 1 2 3> 4 5 6 7 8
1. Cholesterol* (mg%) under 160 160-179 180-199 200-219 220-239 240-259 260-279 280-299 300 plus
2. Blood Pressure* (mmHg) under 110 110-119 120-12k 130-139 140-159 160 plus      
3. Smoking (cig./day) none  up to 5 5-9 10-19  20-29 30+      
4. Overweight^ (in %) 0-4% 5-9% 10-14% 15-19% 20-29% 30%+      
5. Triglycerides* (mg%) under 100 100-149 150-249 250-349 350+        
6. Diabetes (duration) None under 5 yrs 5-10 years 10+ years          
7. Resting Pulse (beats/min.) under 56 56-62 63-69 70-80 80+        
8. Stress/Tense Rarely tense Tense 3x/wk Tense 2-3/day Tense and rushed on tran-quilizers        
* To determine your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, just see your physician. The blood test is very simple and inexpensive, and takes about five minutes. What you learn may save your life! If you take blood pressure pills, score four points regardless of your blood pressure level. ^To determine your percentage of overweight, look up your ideal weight, take its midpoint, and subtract it from your actual weight. Divide the difference in pounds by your ideal weight and multiply by 100.

Click on ideal weight page to review the definition of ideal weight. Also, see the ideal weight application page.


โˆ™ Read the Range and Description comment that applies to your value. This is your approximate risk of heart attack and stroke!


Table 2. Totaling Your 8 Factors of Heart Attack Risk

Risk Factor from Table 1 Score
1. Cholesterol  
2. Blood Pressure  
3. Smoking  
4. Overweight  
5. Triglycerides  
6. Diabetes  
7. Pulse  
8. Stress  

Total Score:




Table 3. HeartScreen: Interpreting Your Score

Value Your Range Description/Comment
0-6 IDEAL Development of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke is extremely unlikely, especially if your cholesterol level is below 160.
7-14 ELEVATED The development of heart disease or stroke is about one third of the U.S. average, yet three times higher than for the ideal group.
15-22 HIGH RISK This is the average. You cannot afford to be average, because your risk of a heart attack is 10 times higher than the ideal group.
23-30 VERY HIGH RISK The development of heart disease and stroke is about three times the U.S. average, or 30 times higher than the ideal group. Action is imperative! You may be able to drop four points on this test within four to eight weeks by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure through dietary change.
31 -38 DANGEROUS The likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke is about four to six times the U.S. average and about 50 times higher than the ideal group. Set goals and take action without delay




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