Heart disease is the leading cause of death and serious illness in United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that an online tool at www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/heartage.htm can help people determine how old their heart is, based on factors like weight, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure. The officials suggested that three out of four Americans' hearts are older than their chronological age, raising the risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death. Researchers observed that nearly 69 million adults between the ages of 30 and 74 years have a heart age older than their actual age.
The CDC in its Vital Signs report said, "For most adults aged 30-74 years, their predicted heart age is significantly higher than their chronological age. That's about the number of people living in the 130 largest US cities combined. The average predicted heart age for adult men was nearly eight years older than their chronological age, and 5.4 years older for women."
When researchers divided people according to race, they observed that the highest heart ages among African-American men and women, who had an average heart age of 11 years older than their chronological age.
CDC officials said, "We were releasing the report and the online tool in the hopes that it would encourage people to be aware of their heart health and take measures to prevent heart disease before it is too late. The heart age concept was created to more effectively communicate a person's risk of dying from heart attack or stroke - and to show what can be done to lower that risk."
Experts suggested that maintaining a healthy weight, keeping blood pressure under control, not smoking, getting enough exercise and eating right are the top ways to avoid heart disease. Barbara Bowman, director of CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, said, "Because so many US adults don't understand their cardiovascular disease risk, they are missing out on early opportunities to prevent future heart attacks or strokes. About three in four heart attacks and strokes are due to risk factors that increase heart age, so it's important to continue focusing on efforts to improve heart health and increase access to early and affordable detection and treatment resources nationwide."