MOST people’s hearts are older than their actual age, new research suggests.
An online tool which calculates a person’s of having a heart attack or stroke reveals that almost four in five people over the age of 30 have a heart which is deemed to be older than their chronological age - putting them at higher risk of potentially fatal heart attack or stroke.
The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, examined data from 575,000 people who used the online tool on the NHS Choices website.
Two-fifths of women under 40 had a heart older than they actually were compared to 87 per cent of men the same age, according to the research, funded by the British Heart Foundation.
Most people didn’t know their own cardiovascular risk factors - almost half were unaware of what their blood pressure was and three-quarters were unaware what their cholesterol levels were.
People can still use the online tool and be given an estimate without knowing them - but are being encouraged to go and find them out.
The Public Health England, the BHF and NHS Choices say taking the simple and quick test helps people take the first steps towards improving the health of their hearts. Dr Mike Knapton, BHF associate medical director, added: “Knowing your heart age is vital to taking control of your health. Armed with this knowledge you can start to make changes to help protect yourself against cruel and life-changing events such as heart attack and stroke.
“The younger you start making small but significant changes, the greater the return on your investment in your health.
“Research has shown that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, poor diet and a lack of exercise, as well as a lack of investing in your future health and fitness all contribute to increasing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.”
Cardiovascular disease causes more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK - around 155,000 people each year.
Visit bhf.org.uk/heartage or the NHS Health Check website.