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Has Your Heart Aged Faster than You Have

Healthy fun at any ageHair color conceals grays. Cosmetics can help cover up wrinkles. But you can’t hide from your heart age—in fact, your ticker could have more years on it than you think, a new report finds.

Health experts calculate heart age by tallying up a person’s risk factors for heart attack, stroke, and similar health problems. The resulting number expresses how many years of strain have been added to the cardiovascular system with habits such as smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and being inactive.

Signs of Aging You Can’t See
When government researchers crunched the numbers for the whole country, they found:
  • On average, Americans’ hearts have aged seven years more than they should
  • Men’s average heart age was nearly eight years older than their actual age, while women’s was almost five and a half years higher
  • Half of men have a heart age five or more years older than their actual age
  • Two in five women have hearts that have aged an extra half-decade

They reported their findings in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Find the Fountain of Heart Youth
You can find out your heart age by heading to www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/cardiovasculardisease/heartage.html. You’ll just need a few numbers, including your real age, the top number of your blood pressure, and your body mass index.

About three in four heart attacks or strokes can be blamed on factors that increase heart age, health experts say. But it’s not too late to turn back the clock. Do it by:
  • Giving up cigarettes, if you smoke
  • Keeping blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes under control
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Being physically active

At Norwalk Hospital, we take your cardiovascular health to heart. Learn more about the heart, valve, and vascular services we offer, as well as the conditions we treat, by visiting www.norwalkhospital.org/heart-and-vascular-care.


Feeling Well: Heart Health