Objective: Screening and educational campaigns on cardiovascular (CV) risk factors are important for primary and secondary prevention of CV disease. The CardioLab project is an observational cross-sectional study aimed at determining the prevalence of CV risk factors in a large unselected sample of the Italian population leaving in northern, central and southern Italy.
Methods and results: Data collection included family and clinical history, anthropometric data, blood pressure, blood glucose and total cholesterol values. Individual CV risk profile was assessed throughout by the risk charts of both the Progetto Cuore and the Score Project. In 36,161 participants (56.3% men) with a mean age of 60 years a complete assessment of the above mentioned variables was obtained. 44.4% of the screened subjects was overweight, while approximately 20% of the population displayed an obese state with a body mass index >30 kg/m2. Alterations in blood glucose levels indicating the presence of glucose intolerance were identified in 11.5% of the population while 9.3% displayed overt diabetes. 36.1% and 42.3% had elevated total cholesterol levels (> 200 mg/dl) and blood pressure values (> or = 140/90 mmHg), respectively. New diagnosis of diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia and hypertension was obtained in 5.3%, 23.6% and 19.6%, respectively. Global assessment of the CV risk showed that approximately 12.6% of the population is at a high risk of CV events over a 10-year period.
Conclusions: This large-scale observational study provides important information on the CV risk profile of an unselected Italian population and underlines the need for a more aggressive identification and appropriate correction of CV risk factors.