50+ health * Healthy living

Do you know your heart age?

World heart day 2009 Online tool estimates how healthy your heart is

Heart disease is the number one killer in the UK and worldwide. But experts estimate that as many as 80% of deaths from heart disease and stroke could be prevented with changes to diet and lifestyle.

To illustrate this, the World Heart Foundation has created a simple online tool that can assess your "heart age", releasing it on the occasion of the annual World Heart Day, which falls on Sunday, September 27th.

By answering a few simple questions the calculator will estimate the "age" of your heart compared with your actual age.

You can try it out here : Heart Age Calculator.

Preventing heart disease

There are lifestyle changes we can all make to improve the health of our heart. The major risk factors are:

  • High blood pressure. Although this cannot be cured, it can be managed. If you have high blood pressure make sure you talk to your doctor about this.
  • High levels of cholesterol in your blood. Switch to a diet low in cholesterol.
  • Quit smoking. As well as causing lung and other cancers, smoking has a detrimental effect on the heart.
  • Lack of exercise. Physical inactivity increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%.
  • High levels of saturated fats. Again, eat fruit, vegetables, fish, avoid fatty or fried foods.
  • Obesity. Linked to all the above factors. Being overweight pre-disposes you to diabetes, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

This article was published on Fri 25 September 2009

Image © Marin Conic - Fotolia.com

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