A UVA Heart & Vascular Center Initiative

Now Is the Time to Be Young at Heart

Posted February 02, 2016

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of American women have a heart age that is five years older than their actual age. This number is significant because being “old” at heart means you are at greater risk for heart disease and stroke.

What Makes the Heart Age More Quickly?

Time alone takes a toll on your heart. But beyond this natural decline, there are other factors that increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and speed up the aging process. These include:

  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Inactive Lifestyle
  • Elevated Stress Levels
  • Smoking

Unfortunately, these risk factors are increasingly common among American adults, with a majority having more than one of the risk factors noted above. This means their heart age is greater than it should be and, as a result, they are more likely to die of heart disease within the next 10 years.

The good news: when it comes to your heart, it’s never too late to turn back the clock. Diet, exercise, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels are all variables you can control, so you have the power to hit rewind and take years off of your heart.

How Old Is Your Heart?

The first step in stopping in the clock on an aging heart is knowing where you stand. Using an online tool called the Heart Age Calculator, you can determine your true heart age.

Just enter your age, weight and other health information to get instant results based on the Framingham Heart Study, which helped determine which risk factors have the greatest impact on your heart health.

You Can Be Young at Heart!

If your heart age is equal to or below your true age, you’re on the right track, so be sure to maintain your heart-healthy lifestyle. If your heart age is greater than your true age, it’s time to take action. Talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes you can make to improve your heart health today.

Plus — be sure to stay tuned to Club Red for helpful tips on managing your heart disease risk factors!


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