How healthy is your heart?

The health of our heart can tell us a lot about our overall well-being, particularly when it comes to predicting how likely we are to have a heart attack or stroke. People often associate their heart health with just their fitness levels, but whether you are a marathon runner or rely on a stair lift, there are many more factors to consider when gauging the health of your heart.

According to Public Health England (PHE), 80% of heart attacks or strokes in people under 75 could be prevented if they were to improve their heart health. They also estimate that four in five adults are at risk of early death due to unhealthy lifestyle choices.

To help us find out how healthy our hearts are, PHE have created an online test for over 30s designed to calculate the ‘age’ of your heart, and indicate how likely you are to suffer from a stroke or heart attack. They are hoping the test encourages individuals with a poor ‘heart age’ to improve their lifestyle habits and overall health.

BBC News spoke with recently retired 59-year-old David Green from Plymouth, who took the test after he found it difficult to keep up with his theatre rehearsals. “The worst moment was being told my heart is 10 years older than me and that my life expectancy was shortened. That took some digesting for sure, but I flipped it to a positive statement to do something to reverse that scenario.”

The test asks 16 simple physical and lifestyle questions and has so far been taken by almost 2 million people. The results so far have shown that 78% of participants have a heart age older than their actual age, with 34% of those people having a heart age five years or older and 14% at least 10 years or older.

The test recommends a wealth of measures that can help bring down your heart’s age, including quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol, managing your weight, improving your fitness and more.

Are you interested in finding out your heart’s age? If you’d like to take the test, you can find it here.