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New test indicates heart attack risk

Monday 10th September 2018
A new test has been devised that can help people self-assess their heart age.
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A new test to indicate the 'heart age' of people over 30 has been launched, designed to indicate whether a person is at a significant risk of a heart attack or stroke. 

Public Health England is urging people to take the test, which examines a wide array of factors to calculate the 'age' of a heart, which may differ from their actual age. 

It is estimated around 80 per cent of heart attacks and strokes in people aged under 75 could be prevented if people improved their cardiovascular health, while four out of five people are out at a risk of an early death by unhealthy lifestyles. 

People taking the quiz are asked questions about their age and location, whether they smoke, their height and weight, their cholesterol and blood pressure levels (if known), about health problems they may have had in the past, and any family histories of heart disease and strokes. 

All these are used to calculate the 'heart age' and tells the individual what age they could expect to live to without having a stroke or heart attack. 

While the test does not diagnose whether a person is in imminent danger, it does help raise awareness. Many people taking the test, for example, might not know their cholesterol or blood pressure levels, so the test may prompt them to get checked up. 

The test also links to advice on how to improve cardiovascular health, including steps like cutting down on caffeine, alcohol and saturated fats and losing weight to positive steps such as exercising a lot and eating more foods with healthy fats, like oily fish and avocados. 

It also offers people the chance to calculate their 'heart age' by assessing what impact various health steps will have on reducing this. 

Users are also reminded that free heart health checks are available on the NHS for anyone aged between 40 and 74 not already receiving treatment for cardiovascular problems. 

Written by Matthew Horton

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