Heart Age Test: Know your Heart Age before it’s too late

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For many people, 60 is the new 50 years of age heart wise! As if this isn’t shocking enough, they still maintain the same poor life style that got them into this rat hole in the first instance.

This is most common among 10% of middle aged men whose poor lifestyle has left them with a heart that is a decade older than their actual age. Britain, in 2015 the NHS launched its Hert Age Test to help people discover if they were at risk of heart attack and stroke.

New analysis of the results from 1.2 million middle aged men who took the test showed that one in 10, 50-year-olds has the heart of a 60-year-old man, suggesting they could die a decade earlier than they should.

In third world countries-Nigeria where life is more stressful and standard of medicare is worse, this alarming trend must give a grave concern to health professionals and governments.

The problem is worse for men than women. Of those found to have hearts which were 10 years older than their actual age, only 36 per cent were women. The majority, 64 per cent, were men… please don’t ask me why?

In Britain, every month, 7,400 people die from heart disease or stroke. A quarter of these deaths are of people under 75 but most of those could be prevented by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and living a healthier lifestyle.

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Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack and stroke, though declining in recent years, is still the main cause of death amongst men and the second highest cause of death in women. Having a high heart age increases the risk of serious health issues including dementia, heart attack, stroke, chronic kidney disease and diabetes.

Associate Professor Jamie Waterall, Lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, PHE, said: “We should all aim for our heart age to be the same as our real age – addressing our risk of heart disease and stroke should not be left until we are older, the earlier we start the better the outcome we will achieve.

At a glance | Heart disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is caused by the build-up of fatty substances on the walls of the arteries around the heart. The build-up of these fatty deposits make the arteries narrower, restricting the flow of blood to the heart. This process is called atherosclerosis.heart-diseaseThis can be caused by a number of lifestyle factors and conditions, including smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Other risk factors include obesity and family history of CHD.

Symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain – this can be a mild, uncomfortable feeling similar to indigestion.
  • If the arteries become completely blocked by a build-up of fat it can cause a heart attack
  • Heart palpitations
  • Unusual breathlessness
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Treating heart disease: There is no cure for heart disease but treatment can help manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of any further problems. The main treatments are:

  • Lifestyle changes – more exercise, healthy eating and stopping smoking can help prevent further effects of CHD.
  • Medicines – they aim to reduce blood pressure and to widen arteries, these include beta-blockers, nitrates and calcium channel blockers.
  • Surgery – If symptoms cannot be controlled by lifestyle changes or medication there are surgical procedures to open up or bypass blocked arteries.

Source: NHS

“The Heart Age Test is really important as it gives an immediate idea of heart attack and stroke risk, with no doctor’s appointment needed.

” As part of our heart health (HH) campaign, next month Healthng.com will launch a more up to date version of the Heart Age Test and is encouraging people to take three minutes out of the day to check their heart health.

People who take the test and send their results to hearthealth@healthng.com will receive free advice and resources to help them eat and drink better, get active, and quit smoking to improve their health.

For the first time, Healthng.com will direct people who contact us through this email address (hearthealth@healthng.com) to their nearest blood pressure station or our test affiliates, if they do not know theirs, as those with high blood pressure are more at risk of heart disease or stroke.

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Around 80% of people that took part in our survey did not know their blood pressure numbers.

A consultant Cardiologist at Lagos University Teaching Hospital LUTH, Idi-Araba and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Lagos, Dr. Amam Mbakwem has expressed worry about the growing incidence of hypertensive disorders in Nigeria warning that currently, no less than 40% of adults in Nigeria are hypertensive and they do not know it.

heart shape by various vegetables and fruits
heart shape by various vegetables and fruits

Dr Mike Knapton, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, added: “It’s extremely worrying that so many people don’t know their blood pressure or cholesterol levels, as these silent conditions can lead to a deadly heart attack or stroke if untreated. “The Heart Age Test is a quick and easy way to estimate the number of years you will live in good health. If you are concerned by the age of your heart, make an appointment with your doctor.” The campaign runs throughout June in partnership with Nigerian Cardiac Society.

“Getting your blood pressure tested in your nearest pharmacy or health center can be the first important step to prolonging your life.”

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