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Over 50's urged to lower heart age 'before it is too late'

04-Sep-17
Article By: Melissa McAlees

One in ten 50-year-old men have a heart age a decade older than they are, increasing their risk of a fatal heart attack or stroke, new research suggests.

Credit: ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com

The discovery that ‘60 is the new 50’ for the male heart was made after 1.2 million men and women volunteered to take the ‘Heart Age Test’ as part of a Public Health England (PHE) campaign.

Analysis of the results showed the majority of people - 64 per cent - with a heart ten years older than their actual age were male.

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

“While trends have recently shown incidence of cardiovascular disease (including heart attack and stroke) declining in recent years, it is still the main cause of death amongst men and the second highest cause of death in women."

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), over 7,000 people die from heart disease or stroke every month, and five million people in England are currently unaware they have high blood pressure.

Public Health England’s latest campaign urges people to think about their heart health, encouraging them to be as familiar with their heart age as they are with their weight or height.

To help people find out their risk and get an immediate idea of their heart health, PHE is encouraging adults to take three minutes out of their day to take the Heart Age Test.

The test directs users to their nearest blood pressure station and offers advice and resources to help them improve their heart health.

The campaign will run throughout September in partnership with cardiovascular charities British Heart Foundation, Stroke Association and Blood Pressure UK.

Katherine Jenner, chief executive officer of Blood Pressure UK, is urging adults to lower their heart age ‘before it is too late’. She said: “Getting your blood pressure tested in your nearest pharmacy or health centre can be the first important step to prolonging your life.

“Having a high heart age increases the risk of serious health issues including dementia, heart attack, stroke, chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Making simple changes, like doing more activity or quitting smoking, can reduce this risk.

“Other risk factors include excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and family history of premature heart disease.”

Dr Mike Knapton, medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), 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 GP.”

For more information on the Heart Age Test go to: www.nhs.uk/oneyou

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