Young at Heart: Does Your Heart “Act its Age?”

As an adolescent, I often felt myself wanting to appear older and more mature. Then, after a few years of actually maturing and aging, I found myself scrambling to reclaim some of that youth that had been so very wasted on me.

Unfortunately, when it comes to my cardiovascular health, it may just be acting a little more “mature” than it really is. And, apparently, it’s a pretty common and devastating trend according to recent findings. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project that about 75% of adults in the United States suffer from a “heart age” older than their true years. This puts our population at a huge risk for stroke and heart attack.

“Too many U.S. adults have a heart age years older than their real age, increasing their risk of heart disease and stroke,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Everybody deserves to be young – or at least not old – at heart.”

The number 1 cause of death or illness in the United States is due to Cardiovascular disease. This is why the National Heart Institute (which is now the modern day National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) began heavily researching our population’s heart health back in the 1940’s.

The Heart of the Matter

The Framington Heart Study, which is ongoing, has collected information from all 50 states. Thus far, they have found that about 50% of men have a heart with a chronological age of at least 5 years older than their actual age. For women, 2 out of 5 reportedly also have hearts aged 5 or more years older than themselves.

Although there old heart age was seen in participants in from all locations, racial and ethic groups; some seemed to have more prevalence to it than others. There also were some significant differences in volume for this happening by region. For instance, despite the participants being primarily Caucasian, the study suggests African-Americans were more prone to having cardiovascular age greater than theirs.

The southern part of the US in places like Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and West Virginia had the most adults showing cardiovascular health at that of what it should be of someone at least five years or more older.

Healthier states included Hawaii, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Massachusetts.



Things that age your heart:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • age
  • gender
  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • physical inactivity

How to Gage a Heart’s Age

The age of an individual’s cardiovascular health is measured depending on certain traits or habits of a person. Your actual age, body mass index (BMI), existing risk factors for stroke or heart attack, things like high blood pressure, whether you’re a smoker or not and if you have diabetes. Here you can calculate your cardiovascular age with a special calculator. Here you can find a 10-Year Risk Cardiovascular Disease Calculator.


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