A campaign run by the Heart Foundation in February asked us to take a couple of minutes to check our “heart age” using the Heart Age Calculator, a new online tool.
By answering a few simple questions about lifestyle and risk factors – such as family history, smoking history, height and weight – the calculator provides an initial indication of the condition of your heart, presented in terms of its effective age.
So far, more than 200,000 Australians have used the calculator.
It has shown that eight out of 10 people have a heart age older than their actual age, while only one in 10 have a heart age that is younger.
Heart Foundation Tasmania CEO Graeme Lynch said that many of us are at risk of heart attack or stroke but were simply not aware of it.
“The Heart Age Calculator can quickly give us an indication of how healthy our heart is,” he said.
“The bigger the difference between your heart age and your actual age, the higher the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
“About 1.4 million Australians aged 45 to 74 have a high risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years, but almost one million of these are not receiving the right treatment.
“Tens of thousands of early deaths could be avoided with a heart health check and treatment if it’s warranted.
“It’s important to know your numbers – your blood pressure and cholesterol levels – and also discuss your family history, lifestyle factors and smoking status with your GP.”
The Heart Foundation’s Serial Killer campaign was launched to draw attention to the fact that, on average, heart disease kills 51 Australians a day, or about 18,500 people each year.
The campaign quickly gained traction, with the Australian Government soon announcing that from April 1, 2019, Australians at risk of heart disease will be eligible for a multi-point heart check-up.
“Ultimately we’re trying to remind people that heart disease is our biggest killer and that they should not only become familiar with the warning signs of a heart attack, but also use the calculator and arrange a heart health check with a GP if there is any concern,” Mr Lynch said.
“Heart health checks could save the Australian economy $1.5 billion over the following five years – this is a return of $3 for every $1 invested.”
You can access the heart age calculator here.
Contributed: Heart Foundation Tasmania