Hypertensive patients who have already had cardiovascular complications (such as a heart attack or stroke), who are diabetic, or suffering from kidney failure, who have several risk factors or have been exposed to a single extreme factor (e.g. heavy smokers, massive hypercholesterolemia) are classified as those being at a high cardiovascular risk already, and must be treated to the utmost without any necessity to stratify their risks further.
Less severely hypertensive patients (who fortunately, are the majority) can assess their risk of experiencing a lethal cardiovascular event by entering some baseline data into the coloured table derived from the SCORE study
It is, in fact, sufficient to identify themselves on the basis of gender, smoking or non-smoking status, age category, maximum arterial pressure (systolic) and total cholesterolemia. If you are taking medication to lower blood cholesterol, you should use the values that you had before the treatment.
Risk is assessed as very high if it is greater than or equal to 10, as high if it is between 5 and 9, and moderate if between 1 and 4.
The risk estimate is raised by on average one category if there are parallel conditions, like a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, low "good" cholesterol (HDL), high triglycerides, a family history of dyslipidaemia, a family history of premature cardiovascular disease, renal failure, an age above those included on the sheets, the presence of asymptomatic lesions on ultrasound examination of the carotid arteries.