What does the future hold for your health and longevity? You may be able to find out: A simple tool can help you figure out if a heart attack or stroke may be in your future – by calculating how old your heart is.
Assessing your heart health is important because heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. Knowing your heart's age can help you improve or maintain your health and live a longer, fuller life.
Calculating your heart's age is a way of determining your risk for heart disease and events like heart attacks and strokes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a "heart age" formula using the following factors to estimate risk:
You can find out your heart's age by using this heart age calculator. If you have a heart that's older than your chronological age, you're not alone. The CDC evaluated the heart health of more than half a million men and women and found that 40 percent of Americans have hearts that are five or more years older than their actual ages.
For example, a 53-year-old woman might have a heart age of 68 because she smokes and has high blood pressure. Finding out your heart age and risk factors can be just the push you need to make healthier decisions.
It may be scary to find out that you have a higher chance of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. But you can take control. Because heart disease prevention is always better than treatment.
You can lower your risk of heart disease with simple lifestyle changes. If your heart's age is too high, try lowering it with these six lifestyle changes:
While the heart age calculator to assess your heart disease risk is fast and easy, but not as accurate or reliable as having a heart scan. A heart scan is a CT scan of your heart that looks for hardened calcium on your artery walls, one of the first signs of heart disease. It's a quick, noninvasive test that, together with factors like age and family history, lets your doctor more accurately assess your potential for a heart attack or stroke.
"When findings on a heart scan are combined with the traditional risk factors for heart disease, we can see a clearer picture of a person's risk of suffering from a heart attack," said Abdel Almanfi, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Franciscan Physician Network Indiana Heart Physicians in Indianapolis.
A $49 heart scan can save your life. Download our guide to learn about heart disease and the benefits of a heart scan.