Is Your Heart Age Older Than Your Actual Age?
New US research has shown that many people have a heart age which is older than their actual age. According to data released by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDP), three out of four Americans have hearts that are five years older than their age.
The worrying figures highlight just how many people seem to be ignoring their hearts’ health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and is responsible for one in four deaths in both the US and the UK. Letting your heart age soar above your actual age significantly increases your chances of developing the condition.
“This is alarming,” says CDC scientist Quanhe Yang, the study’s lead author. “Heart disease is the nation’s number one killer. But the bottom line is you can do some very simple things to become younger at heart.”
Your blood pressure levels, your weight, and habits such as smoking are all factors which contribute to the age of your heart. Most of the risk factors associated with heart disease or an advanced heart age are largely under your control, so you can keep your heart age closer to your actual age by making some healthy lifestyle choices.
If you want to start taking better care of your heart, you should be doing the following:
- Eat a healthy diet, which includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, and only small amounts of fat, salt and sugar.
- Exercise regularly, aiming to get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.
- Maintain a healthy weight – eating healthy and staying active will contribute to this.
- If you smoke, quit.
If you want to find out your heart age, the NHS, in partnership with the British Heart Foundation, offers a tool to help you establish your heart’s age, which you can take here. It will help you determine whether you have a healthy heart or whether you need to make some lifestyle changes. It will also offer you more detailed advice about how to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.