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February 15, 2019

Is Your Heart Older than You?  

Joyce Knestrick, PhD, CRNP, FAANP

On your next birthday, add seven candles to your cake to account for your heart age. That’s how much older the average adult heart is compared to its chronical age, thanks to these five things:  

 

  1. High blood pressure
  2. High cholesterol
  3. Excess body weight
  4. Inactivity
  5. Smoking 

If you’ve been assuming your heart is aging right along with the rest of you, check out this calculator. A 45-year-old, diabetic smoker with high blood pressure can have 75-year-old heart, but here’s the good news. Unlike real age, this one is adjustable, so when a 50-year-old smoker quits, they lower their heart age by 14 years.  
  
Don’t let your old heart age get the best of you. Three out of four heart attacks are caused by some combination of these risk factors, so work with your nurse practitioner to address the things that are putting added strain on your heart.