Test The Age Of Your Heart
Public Health England and the British Heart Foundation have collaborated to create an online calculator which estimates the age at which a person is most likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke.
The calculator asks users to provide their age, height and weight. It asks them a series of questions about their lifestyle, such as whether they smoke. It also asks for their cholesterol and blood pressure, and details about their personal and family medical history, as well as enquiring whether they have ever received treatment for blood pressure.
Using this information, the tool generates a heart age, gives the approximate age at which the person is most likely to have a heart attack or stroke, and predicts their risk of a heart attack or stroke in the next ten years. Without information about cholesterol and blood pressure, the tool will still make these predictions, but will note that the lack of specific numbers will affect the accuracy of the results.
The creators of the heart age calculator hope that it will encourage people to do what they can to avoid future heart problems.
“Too many people are dying prematurely from preventable conditions and there is clear evidence that factors like smoking and high blood pressure play a major role in this,” says Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and well-being at Public Health England. “The heart age tool shows that it is never too late to make healthy lifestyle changes, giving people a chance to see the direct impact these changes can have on their heart’s health.”
“Knowing your risk of developing heart and circulatory disease is crucial to taking control of your health,” says Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation. “Armed with this knowledge, you can start to make lifestyle changes to help protect yourself against heart attacks and strokes.”
However, some experts have expressed concerns that the results of the calculator will encourage people to take measures which could do more harm than good, such as taking statins or other medication which may have unwanted side effects.
“It is important to help identify those at risk of heart disease, but I really hope this has been properly evaluated; we don’t want to make the same mistakes we have seen in the US, where calculators enormously exaggerated the risks,” says Dr Assem Malhotra, honorary consultant cardiologist at Frimley Park Hospital.
The heart age calculator is available below.