Heart age signifies how healthy your heart is and does not depend on age. To reduce heart age keep your blood pressure under 120/80 mm Hg. Keep a tab on cholesterol levels. Include fruits, omega 3s and low cholesterol foods to your diet. Maintain a healthy BMI, 18-25 for adults. Exercise regularly to maintain optimum blood sugar levels. Avoid smoking and alcohol.
What Is Heart Age?
Heart age refers to the biological age of the heart. The age of our vital, internal organs does not necessarily correspond with our chronological age. Some of our organs may age faster than us because of degenerative factors. For example, in osteoporosis, the bones age faster than the person’s age ( i.e bones lose minerals, mass, and structure, making them weaker and thus increasing their risk of breaking).
How To Calculate Your Heart Age?
The heart’s age depends on the body’s total health and the presence or absence of other co-morbidities. Heart age is calculated taking into account your personal medical history, family history, lifestyle and habits, and presence of other diseases or disorders.1
Interesting Facts About Your Heart Age
- Heart age is equal to the age of the heart and blood vessels.
- Heart age can predict the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
- 1 out of 2 men have a heart age 5 years older than their chronological age.
- 2 out of 5 women have a heart age 5 years older than their chronological age.
- 3 out of 4 heart attacks or strokes are because of an increased heart age.
Ways To Reduce Your Heart Age
If you want to avoid the risk of a heart attack or stroke, you need to keep your heart age down and prevent degeneration of heart muscles and vessels.
It is important to understand the underlying factors that can affect your heart age, including your genes and family history. These are some of the factors that you cannot change or control, but you can control other lifestyle and risk factors.
Get going on these 6 ways to lower your odds of getting heart disease, to reduce your heart age and to keep your circulatory system healthy:2
1. Control High Blood Pressure
Check your blood pressure regularly after age 30, and ensure that you keep your blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg. If you do have elevated blood pressure, consult your doctor to give you a suitable medicine and, cut back on sodium and high-calorie foods.
2. Improve Cholesterol Levels
Get your cholesterol levels tested regularly after age 40. High cholesterol levels can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. It builds up in the artery walls, narrowing the blood flow and increasing the risk of clots. However, to restore your cholesterol levels back to normal, here are a few things you can do:
- Follow a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This diet is so good because it contains almost no sugar or fat, both of which the body converts into fat and cholesterol.
- Prefer low-fat or non-fat dairy products in your diet.
- Stay physically fit and active to keep your cholesterol levels normal.
3. Get To A Healthy Weight
BMI (Body Mass Index) and healthy weight matters in keeping your heart age down. Obesity is directly responsible for wearing down heart muscles and blood vessels, as excess fat puts pressure on the heart.3
BMI measures your body fat taking into account your weight and height. The ideal BMI for most adults ranges from 18-25. If your BMI is more than 25, you are considered overweight. Get your BMI calculated regularly and make sure you maintain a healthy weight.4
4. Keep A Check On Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetes increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke, as repeated ups and downs in blood sugar level wears out heart vessels and strains the circulatory system. Diabetics are advised to keep sugar levels in check as well as minimize highs and lows. Get sufficient exercise (cardio) and follow a strict regimen of diet and medications.
5. Quit Smoking And Lower Alcohol Consumption
Lifestyle factors are a major contributor in increasing the heart age. Smoking and excess alcohol consumption increases your heart age. Cut back or totally quit smoking and make sure you do not go overboard with alcohol consumption.
6. Follow A Heart-Healthy Diet
Diet is a significant factor in lowering the heart age. Avoid high-calorie foods, foods with high trans-fats and high-calorie dairy products. Opt for a diet that is a mix of lean protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy nuts. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like fish are known to keep the heart healthy.
Following these simple steps can help reduce modifiable risk factors for heart attack and stroke, boosting your heart health and reducing your heart age!
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