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Archive for the ‘September 2015’ Category

How old is your heart?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

By Dr. Grant Reffell

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New research in the medical community suggests that despite an individual’s age, their heart may be significantly older than their actual age. Factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes can all play a significant factor in aging your heart past your physical age and putting you at risk for heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.

The recent Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) report has some alarming findings for the average American. In the report it was found that 1 out of 2 men and 2 in 5 women have a heart that is at least five years older than their actual age. In fact, the average male has a heart age eight years older than their actual age and women have an average heart age five years older than their real age. In addition, 3 out of 4 heart attacks and strokes are directly related to heart health.

So how is my heart age determined? While some of the factors that play a role in aging your heart, such as your actual age and your family history, are unavoidable and still play a role in your heart age, other factors are preventable if each person chooses to make small lifestyle changes to improve their heart condition. Unfortunately, high heart age is found more frequently in poor people and minorities, particularly African Americans who have an average heart age of 11 years older than their chronical age. Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Alabama have the highest number of people whose heart age is advanced. The alarming statistic is that approximately 69 million Americans have a heart age older than their actual age, yet they have never suffered from a heart attack or stroke and may be unaware of the risk their heart age may pose to their future health.

In order to determine your heart age, you can use this simple health calculator provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH). Answering these basic questions can help you determine how healthy your heart is and how old your heart is. If some of the factors in the calculator are abnormally high, you can pinpoint those problem areas and prioritize them to begin the process of lowering your heart age. For example, if you have high cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol (the cholesterol that is considered ‘good’ cholesterol), than it is likely that you need to exercise more and eat healthier on a regular basis.

However, do not fret yet. If your heart is not at the age it needs to be (at or below your actual age), there are certainly steps that can help lower your heart age rapidly. Identifying the lifestyle changes you can make to ensure heart healthy habits will go a long way in lowering your heart age. Making these lifestyle changes permanent and a part of your daily routine is the first step to lowering heart age. If you’re a smoker, quitting smoking can have an almost immediate and drastic effect on heart age. Also, if you suffer from type-2 diabetes, than that is a glaring signal that you need to eat better and consistently perform weight loss exercises to shed those unwanted pounds and get your heart healthy again.

Here at CoreWellness we utilize proven weight loss systems and design personalized wellness programs to help get you heart healthy and lower your heart age. Our commitment to our patients is that we will help you identify the lifestyle changes you make and cater a program that you can manage and that can help you become and stay healthy. Schedule an appointment today so we can determine your heart age and ensure that we are lowering it and keeping it low.

There’s nothing more important that practicing healthy habits to get heart healthy and stay heart healthy and visiting CoreWellness for a consultation is the first step for Northwest Chicago residents to leading a healthy life. Contact us today and let’s get your heart health back on track.