The CDC said in a new report that 75 percent of Americans' hearts are older than their actual calendar age, meaning they're at a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.
, released Tuesday, revealed that the average "heart age" for adult men is eight years higher than their actual age. Women's hearts were roughly five years older, on average.
"'Heart age' is the calculated age of a person’s cardiovascular system based on his or her risk factor profile," the CDC explained. "The risks include high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, diabetes status, and body mass index as an indicator for obesity."
The bad news was even worse for African-American men and women, whose average heart age was 11 years older than their actual age. Furthermore, low-income socioeconomic status was identified as an aggravating factor on heart age.
Those living in the American South — Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Alabama — had the worst heart age scores. Those living in Utah, Colorado, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts had the best scores.
"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.
"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."
To compile its report, the researchers calculated the heart age of 236,101 men and 342,424 women between the ages of 30 and 74, the Los Angeles Times reported
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