Risk factors are characteristics (lifestyle-related, environmental, genetic) that, if present in a healthy individual, predict the likelihood of disease occurrence in a defined period of time. They mainly derive from exposure to unhealthy behaviours and lifestyles: unbalanced diet, smoking habit, physical inactivity.
Hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, obesity are the main factors which increase the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease.
This section of the website contains the data collected by the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Observatory (OEC), which provide an overview of the different Italian situations: it is possible to view the distribution of the risk factors and the frequency of risk conditions in the different geographical areas of the country or follow the trend of a single risk factor in a particular Region.
Data were collected between 1998 and 2002; a new data collection has started in 2008, therefore for some areas it is possible to examine trends over time.
Beyond data related to the general population (age range 35-74 years for 1998 and 35-70 for 2008), it is possible to view the distribution of risk factors among the elderly (age range 65-74 years for 1998 and 65-79 for 2008) and menopausal women (50 years or older).
Risk conditions and lifestyles: definitions
Hypertesion: systolic blood pressure ≥160 or diastolic 95 mmHg or under specific treatment
border line: systolic blood pressure between 140 and 159 or diastolic blood pressure between 90 and 94 mmHg.
Hypercholesterolemia: cholesterol ≥240 mg/dl or under specific treatment
border line: cholesterol between 200 and 239 mg/dl.
Diabetes: glycaemia ≥126 mg/dl or under specific treatment
border line: glycaemia between 110 and 125 mg/dl.
Metabolic syndrome: presence of any three or more of the following conditions:
Smoking habit: persons who smoke even only one cigarette per day, week or month are defined smokers; those who have no longer been smoking for at least one year are defined non-smokers and past smokers.
Overweight: body mass index (BMI) 25.0-29.9 Kg/mē.
Obesity: body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 Kg/mē.
Physical inactivity: refers to inactivity during leisure time and at work.
Family history: information on family history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is obtained through questions about first degree relatives (parents, siblings, sons/daughters) having experienced or died from myocardial infarction or stroke at young age (before 55 years for men and 65 for women).
Global absolute cardiovascular risk: it is an indicator which allows to assess the likelihood of experiencing a coronary or cerebrovascular fatal or non-fatal event over the next 10 years when the level of eight risk factors is known (age, sex, smoking habit, diabetes, total cholesterol, HDL, systolic blood pressure, antihypertensive treatment).