Heart Age: How Old is Yours?

Do you know your ‘heart age’?

Many may think of vascular disease as something that affects older people, but this isn’t always the case. Ignorance isn’t bliss! In fact, cardiovascular diseases, which include coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD), are the leading cause of premature deaths worldwide[1] and ischaemic heart disease is the second most common cause of death among 30-49 year olds[2].

Certified online tests are now available that can estimate your heart’s age. These include Public Health England’s new Heart Age Test launched to mark World Health Day 2018[3]. Designed for those aged 30 and above, the test asks 16 simple health and lifestyle questions that calculate how healthy your heart is. Almost two million people have taken the test as of September 2018 and, according to the results, 78% of respondents have a heart age that is older than their actual age[4].

Public Health England’s Heart Age Test provides suggestions for lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your heart’s age and explains the impact these changes will have on your heart health over time[4].

By taking steps to protect your vascular health, it is possible to limit the effects of plaque build-up in the arteries, which can prevent blood clots and reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke[5]. It’s never too early to start!

A predicted 80% of heart attacks and strokes in under-75s are preventable with improved heart health[6] and, whilst there are risk factors that we can’t change – such as family history –, there are risk factors that can be managed by increasing physical activity, stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, managing cholesterol and blood pressure and reducing stress[5].

If you are concerned about your heart age, schedule a check-up with your doctor to discuss your vascular health.

 


[1] Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Deaths from heart disease and stroke could rise significantly unless countries address risk factors. Available at: http://www.healthdata.org/news-release/deaths-heart-disease-and-stroke-could-rise-significantlyunless-countries-address-risk Accessed June 2018.
[2] World Health Organization. Noncommunicable disease prematurely take 16 million lives annually, WHO urges more action. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/noncommunicable-diseases/en/ Accessed July 2018.
[3] Gov.uk. Heart Age Tool updated with new interventions and advice. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/heart-age-tool-updated-with-new-interventions-and-advice Accessed September 2018.
[4] BBC. How you heart age is key to heart attack or stroke risk. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45395576 Accessed September 2018.
[5] NHS. Atherosclerosis. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Atherosclerosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx Accessed September 2018.
[6] WHO. What can I do to avoid a heart attack or a stroke?. Available at: http://www.who.int/features/qa/27/en/ Accessed October 2018.

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