Tags: Heart Disease | heart | age | cardiac | risk

How Old Is Your Heart? New Test Predicts Cardiac Risk

How Old Is Your Heart? New Test Predicts Cardiac Risk
(Copyright Associate Press)

By    |   Monday, 04 April 2016 11:51 AM

In a development that gives new meaning to the phrase “young at heart,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have come up with a way to determine if your heart is “older” than your years, from a health perspective.

In a new study, CDC scientists found that the hearts of Americans are often functioning at lower levels than they should be for their age.

They used data from the well-established Framingham Heart Study to review information on the 568,525 participants between the ages of 30 to 74 and found that men fared worse than women overall. On the average, men had a predicted heart age of 7.8 years older than their chronological age and women had a heart age that was 5.4 years older, according to the study.

The researchers determined the “age” of the heart or cardiovascular system by examining each participant’s risk profile. This includes smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes status, and body mass index.

“Too many U.S. adults have a heart age older than their real age,” said CDC director Tom Frieden. “Everyone deserves to be young — or at least not old — at heart.”

“Discussing a person’s heart age can be a real wakeup call,” Dr. Kevin Campbell, a North Carolina-based renowned cardiologist, tells Newsmax Health. “Many patients who are in their thirties are developing lifelong bad habits that will result in the development of premature heart disease. If we can intervene early and work on lifestyle modifications we can help these patients lose weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Sometimes telling a patient that their heart is much older than their stated age can be very motivating.”

Campbell points out that heart disease is the number one killer in the nation.

“In the U.S. we are plagued with obesity. Obesity and obesity related illness such as diabetes and high blood pressure contribute to the development of heart disease.”

The CDC study found that certain groups fared much worse than the average American. For example, for African Americans, heart age for both men and women was an average of 11 years older than their chronological age. Additionally, if people had more education or household income, their heart age tended to be more in line with their actual age.

In order to help the average citizen determine their own heart “age,” the CDC created the “heart calculator” which can establish your cardiovascular age after assessing a few risk factors.

If you take the test and find out that your heart is older, don’t be discouraged, says Campbell.

“You can always modify risk,” he says.”Small changes can go a long way.  The first step is to check with your doctor and see if you are ready for lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.

“Then get moving. Every system in the body benefits when a person exercises, A daily dose is highly effective in preventing and treating our most common diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression.

“Set small achievable goals such as walking 20 minutes a day three times a week. Aim for the CDC recommendation of 150 minutes of exercise per week combine aerobic and resistance training. Most importantly, MOVE. Do something every day!”

To find out your heart age you can check out the CDC heart calculator here.

© 2020 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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Are you 'young at heart?' A new CDC test can help you answer that question — from a health perspective. The cardiac-risk calculator helps identify Americans whose hearts are functioning at lower levels than they should be for their age.
heart, age, cardiac, risk
Monday, 04 April 2016 11:51 AM
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