A latest study indicates that dentists may perhaps play a life-saving role in health care by recognizing patients at risk of fatal heart attacks thereby referring them to physicians for further evaluation.
For the purpose of the study, the experts were believed to have examined 200 patients comprising of 101 women and 99 men in private dental practices in Sweden whose dentists utilized a computerized system, ‘HeartScore.’ This system is known to have been designed by the European Society of Cardiology.
More over, HeartScore seems to calculate the possibility of a patient dying from a cardiovascular event within a 10-year period. In addition, it measures heart disease risk in persons aged 40-65 by factoring the person’s age, sex, total cholesterol level, systolic blood pressure and smoking condition.
All 200 patients who participated in the study were noted to have been 45 years of age or older. Moreover, they seemed to have no history of heart disease, medicines for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes and had not visited a physician during the previous year to measure their glucose, cholesterol or blood pressure levels.
It was observed that patients with HeartScores of 10 percent or higher were notified by dentists to seek medical advice regarding their condition. Apparently, this 10 percent or higher signified that they had a 10 percent or higher risk of suffering from a fatal heart attack or stroke within a 10-year period.
“With emerging data suggesting an association between oral and non-oral diseases and with the possibility of performing chair side screening tests for diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, oral health care professionals may find themselves in an opportune position to enhance the overall health and well-being of their patients,” claims the study authors.
The authors found that twelve male patients in the study seemed to have HeartScores of 10 percent or higher. More so, all women participating in the study appear to have HeartScores of 5 percent or less.
The authors were of the opinion that oral health care professionals could be able to identify patients who are unaware of their likelihood of developing severe complications as a result of heart disease and who are in need of medical interventions.
The findings of the study have been published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.