The Beacon Medical Centre

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Q Risk

Understanding Q risk is important in preventing future cardiovascular problems. If your Q risk is 10% or higher it is now advised that patients are offered the option of starting a statin medication to lower their cholesterol in addition to being encouraged to make lifestyle changes wherever possible.  Please read below for more information.

Many people are aware that having high cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and stroke. However it is not the only factor. Other risk factors include;

  • Age
  • Gender
  • smoking
  • High blood pressire
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart disease
  • poor diet
  • Alcohol
  • Being overweight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Ethnic origin

It is possible to use a calculator called a ‘Q risk’ calculator to combine these different risk factors and give a % chance of developing cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years.

Q risks are expressed as 

  • Low risk: Q risk is less than 10%, meaning there is less than a one in 10 chance of developing cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack or a stroke within the next 10 years.
  • Moderate risk: A Q risk of 10-20%, meaning there is  a one to two in 10 chance of developing cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack or a stroke within the next 10 years.
  • High risk: Q risk of 20% or higher, meaning there is  at least a  two in 10 chance of developing cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack or a stroke within the next 10 years.

If you have been sent this link by your Clinician it means they are concerned your Q risk is 10% or more.

How can you lower Q risk?

You can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by making adjustments to your lifestyle.

  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet (low salt, low fat, low sugar, 5 fruit/veg a day)
  • Maintain a healthy weight (BMI 19-25)
  • Keep active – doing regular physical activity (at least 30 mins a day for 5 days /week)
  • Stopping smoking if you smoke
  • Moderating alcohol consumption (<14 units /week and alcohol -free days)

How can statins help?

Statins are a group of medications which can help to lower cholesterol. By lowering cholesterol and other harmful fast they can help to reduce the chance of a patient  developing cardiovascular disease including having a heart attack or stroke by up to 28%.

Statins need to be taken every day, usually for the rest of a patient’s life, to be effective. Most people tolerate statins much better than we are sometimes led to believe! In a small number of patients they can cause headaches, nausea, tiredness and in a very small number of patients muscle or liver problems. Not everyone can take a statin, patients with liver disease, who are pregnant or are breast feeding should not take a statin. They can also interact with other medications and also grapefruit juice.  More information can be found here 

Patients who take a statin need a routine blood test 3 months and 12 months after starting treatment, they will then continue to have annual reviews.

Even if you take a statin it is still important to make sure you are following a healthy lifestyle.

Next steps…

If after reading this you would like to start a statin please contact the surgery, you can do this through eConsult or by booking a telephone appointment.

If a statin does not sound like something you wish to take, you do not need to contact us however we would urge you to make sure you are following a healthy lifestyle.

More information

There is lots of useful information about lifestyle modifications on the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/ and also on the British heart foundation website here: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/risk-factors

Patient.info is an excellent health website with lots of information about cardiovascular diseases as well as almost everything else.

If you are browsing and interested in knowing your Qrisk please click here