Learning Your Heart Age on World Heart Day, September 29
Her age is 53. But her heart is 75 years old because she smokes and has uncontrolled high blood pressure. She’s not alone because most American adults have a heart that is older than their actual age. One way to understand your risk for a heart attack or stroke is to learn your “heart age.”
Heart age is the age of your heart and blood vessels as a result of your risk factors for heart attack and stroke. There are some things that put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke that you cannot change such as getting older or your family history; yet there are many others that you can change.
If you smoke or have high blood pressure, your heart age will be much higher than your actual age. The most common reasons for a higher heart age that can be changed or managed are: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and diabetes.
What you can do:
- Learn your heart age and how to improve it.
- Start by choosing a risk factor or two that you’re ready to change, like smoking or high blood pressure, and focus on improving them first.
- Work with your physician to make heart healthy choices for a lower heart age.
- Take action at any age to lower your heart age and keep it lower over time.
Heart age facts:
- 1 in 2 men have a heart age 5 or more years older than their actual age.
- 2 in 5 women have a heart age 5 or more years older than their actual age.
- About 3 in 4 heart attacks and strokes are due to risk factors that increase heart age.
- Having an ideal blood pressure (less than 120/80) lowers your heart age.