One in 10 of British 50-year-olds has the heart of a 60-year-old man, suggesting they could die a decade earlier than they should, warns Public Health England.
Fifty is the new sixty for 10% of middle aged men whose poor lifestyle has left them with a heart that is a decade older than their actual age, The Daily Telegraph reports Public Health England has warned.
In 2015 the UK National Health Service (NHS) launched its Heart Age Test to help people discover if they were at risk of heart attack and stroke. New analysis of the results from 1.2m middle aged men who took the test showed that one in 10 50-year-olds has the heart of a 60-year-old man, suggesting they could die a decade earlier than they should.
The report says the problem is worse for men than women. Of those found to have hearts which were 10 years older than their actual age, only 36% were women. The majority, 64%, were men.
Every month, 7,400 people die from heart disease or stroke. A quarter of deaths are of people under 75 but most of those could be prevented by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and living a healthier lifestyle.
The report says cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack and stroke, declining in recent years is still the main cause of death amongst men and the second highest cause of death in women. Having a high heart age increases the risk of serious health issues including dementia, heart attack, stroke, chronic kidney disease and diabetes.
Associate Professor Jamie Waterall, lead for cardiovascular disease prevention, PHE, said: “We should all aim for our heart age to be the same as our real age – addressing our risk of heart disease and stroke should not be left until we are older. “The Heart Age Test is really important as it gives an immediate idea of heart attack and stroke risk, with no doctor’s appointment needed.”
As part of its One You campaign, PHE has launched a more up to date version of the Heart Age Test and is encouraging people to take three minutes out of the day to check their heart health.
People who take the test will be referred to apps, advice and resources to help them eat and drink better, get active, and quit smoking to improve their health. For the first time, the test will direct users to their nearest blood pressure station if they do not know theirs, as those with high blood pressure are more at risk of heart disease or stroke.
The report says around half of those taking the test since it launched in February 2015 did not know their blood pressure numbers. Dr Mike Knapton, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, added: “It’s extremely worrying that so many people don’t know their blood pressure or cholesterol levels, as these silent conditions can lead to a deadly heart attack or stroke if untreated.
“The Heart Age Test is a quick and easy way to estimate the number of years you will live in good health. If you are concerned by the age of your heart, make an appointment with your GP.”
[link url="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/09/04/50-new-60-one-10-men-has-heart-decade-older-warns-public-health/"]The Daily Telegraph report[/link]