Public Health England (PHE) are encouraging all those over 30 years old to take an online test to measure their ‘heart age’ in a bid to raise the public’s awareness of their own health.
If someone’s heart age is higher than their actual age, then they are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
While the test is not diagnostic, it can highlight to users their risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke – which for people under 75, 80% of which could be prevented by improving health.
‘Millions are at risk of cardiovascular disease but don’t know it, putting themselves at real risk of suffering ill-health or dying younger,’ said Jamie Waterall, national lead for cardiovascular disease at PHE.
‘Knowing your heart age is a simple way of finding out whether you’re at risk of a heart attack or stroke. By making important lifestyle changes you can reduce your risk before it’s too late.’
The test asks several physical and lifestyle questions to provides an estimation of the user’s heart age as well as a prediction of their risk of cardiovascular disease at a certain age in the future. It also suggests ways in which users can improve their health such as losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising regularly and cutting down on alcohol consumption.
‘The heart age test is a simple and effective online device with the potential to help millions of people,’ said Matt Kearney, national clinical director for cardiovascular disease prevention at NHS England.
‘The long-term plan for the NHS will prioritise saving lives through improved protection against cardiovascular disease, and increased public understanding of the risks of stroke and heart disease will mean fewer people have to face these devastating conditions.’
So far, the heart age test has been taken more than 1.9 million times and in 78% of participants, their heat age has been higher than their actual age – with 34% being 5 years older and 14% at least 10 years older.