Are you older than your heart?
A simple online calculator that identifies a person’s “heart age” has determined that most Americans have a heart that is “older” than their body, according to a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The online tool assesses an individual’s heart age by measuring heart risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Researchers determined that 69 million Americans have a heart age older than their actual age. For men, their average heart age was eight years older, and for women, five years older.
“Because so many U.S. adults don’t understand their cardiovascular disease risk, they are missing out on early opportunities to prevent future heart attacks or strokes,” said Barbara A. Bowman, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, in a news release. “About three in four heart attacks and strokes are due to risk factors that increase heart age, so it’s important to continue focusing on efforts to improve heart health and increase access to early and affordable detection and treatment resources nationwide.”
The researchers also found that residents in Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Alabama had the highest percentage of individuals with higher heart ages, while Utah, Colorado, California, Hawaii and Massachusetts the lowest.
“Calculators for ‘physiologic age’ have been around for years,” says Dr. Alan Brown, Director of the Division of Cardiology at the Advocate Heart Institute at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “But, if this new online tool prompts patients to seek an evaluation and personal risk assessment for heart disease, I am all for it.”
Heart disease is the number one cause of death among Americans with nearly 600,000 deaths from heart disease annually. The CDC recommends quitting smoking, lowering blood pressure through eating a healthier diet, taking appropriate medication and exercising more for a healthy heart.
To calculate your heart age, click here.
About the Author
Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!