They say age is just a number, that how old you are physically does not determine how you should act or behave.

But there is a number you should pay attention to – your heart age.

Your heart “age” is how old your heart is in comparison to how old you really are. Through things like diet, smoking, lack of exercise, a person’s heart can rapidly age and increase the chance of them having a heart attack.

According to The Heart Foundation, heart attack, also known as ‘acute myocardial infarction’ is a life-threatening event that occurs when a blood vessel supplying the heart itself is suddenly blocked completely, threatening to damage the heart muscle and its functions.  

The Heart Age calculator is meant to be used by individuals 30 to 74 years old who have no history of cardiovascular disease (e.g., heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease, or heart failure).

And it’s not just the “age” of your heart that’s important. It’s vital to know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers too.

In 2015, heart attacks claimed 8,443 lives, or on average, 23 each day. It is estimated 430,000 Australians have had a heart attack at some time in their lives.

Recognising a Heart Attack

The warning signs of a heart attack can vary from person to person, and they may not always be sudden or severe.

However, these are the most common warning signs of a heart attack;

  • Discomfort or pain in your chest
  • Choking feeling in your throat.
  • Arms may feel heavy or useless.
  • Feel short of breath
  • Feel nauseous
  • Have a cold sweat
  • Feel dizzy or light-headed.

For some people they may have just one of these symptoms, others may find they have a combination.

Improving Your Heart Health

Knowing your heart age isn’t the end of the line, there are a number of things you can do to decrease your heart age and lower the chances of having a heart attack.

The Heart Foundation says that eating healthily and keeping active is important for your overall heart health.

They suggest cutting out unhealthy fats, like saturated and trans fats, and replace them with healthier fats. Reducing the amount of salt in your diet will help too.

Cutting down on processed foods and increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables will help keep your heart healthy.

When it comes to fitness, any physical activity is better than none. It’s ok to start slow and build up more as your fitness increases.  

They also suggest reduce the time you spend sitting every day and break up sitting time to help improve your heart health.

Find your heart age by using the Heart Age Calculator.

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