Your heart may be older or younger than you. Not literally, but researchers calculate how old your heart is to determine your cardiovascular health. Your “heart age” is a valuable indicator for understanding and assessing your risk of heart disease,or based on your risk factor profile.
To determine your heart age at home, you can use an online heart age calculator that takes into account factors such as gender, age, weight, systolic blood pressure (measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats), and health conditions that significantly affect at your heart age. Although this calculator gives you an overview of your heart health, it’s best to get yoursby a medical professional.
Below we look at the main factors that determine the age of your heart and the lifestyle changes you can make to make your heart look younger. You can also check out our guide to find outwithout equipment and how to .
Factors that determine the age of your heart
External factors such asand can affect the age of your heart. However, other components such as health conditions also have an impact.
Stress may also contribute to heart aging, as a family stress study suggests. Changes in marital quality and cardiovascular risk are strongly associated in older married couples. On the same note, people going through a divorce may be at a higher risk of. Johns Hopkins Medicine also says that stress can increase your risk of heart problems because stress increases inflammation in your body, which in turn can affect your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
The Mayo Clinic suggests avoiding salty foods and foods that aren’t heart-healthy, such as processed meats and sugary foods, because these foods can contribute to high blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (also known as “bad”) cholesterol .include vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and lean proteins like fish and legumes, which help keep your heart in optimal shape.
One of the main factors in determining the age of the heart is high blood pressure. But the CDC claims that a lack of quality sleep raises your overall blood pressure. This is because during quality sleep, your blood pressure lowers. If you don’t sleep well or a lot, you may have higher blood pressure for longer, which puts more strain on your heart.
High blood pressure
Blood pressure can have a big impact on the age of your heart. The CDC listed a case of a woman who was 53 chronologically. Her biological heart age was 75 because she was a smoker and had high blood pressure. If I put my usual stats into NYC Health’s heart calculator, but adjust my systolic blood pressure to 200, my heart age becomes 64.
Hypertension is so closely related to the age of the heart that a study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that keeping a systolic blood pressure below 120 in adults 50 and older can significantly reduce the reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease and even death.
Lack of physical activity
A 2019 study showed that physical activity can contribute to a lower heart age. The Mayo Clinic recommends adding 150 minutes of exercise per week to age your heart and reduce cardiovascular risk. Exercise can also directly lower blood pressure, another contributing factor to heart aging. Adding physical activity can include anything from indoor workout videos to.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease and can greatly affect the age of your heart. If I enter the usual stats with NYC Health’s heart rate calculator, but specify that I smoke, this time my heart age comes out to 47. You might be thinking, “smoking affects my lungs, what does that have to do with my heart?” A lot. Smoking can increase plaque build-up on the walls of your blood vessels. In addition, chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause your blood to form clots in your arteries. All of these can contribute to increasing the age of your heart.
Finally, higher cholesterol levels can also age your heart. The American Heart Association’s Heart Age Calculator lists LDL and HDL cholesterol as an important factor in determining your heart age and health. The Mayo Clinic also lists cholesterol levels as a health factor for the age of your heart. High cholesterol levels contribute to the deposition of fatty substances in the blood vessels, making it difficult for blood to flow through the arteries.
How to make your heart younger
As shown above, the age of your heart does not always correlate with your chronological age. You can change your lifestyle to reduce the age of your heart. Although you may have a physically aging heart, younger health practices can help reduce the age of your heart. Some tips listed by the Mayo Clinic include:
- Give up smoking
- Get a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week
- Adjust your diet to include such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains and lean proteins such as white poultry or fish
- Limit your salt intake
- Manage any health conditions such as blood sugar if you have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. You can do this by consulting your doctor and making a holistic plan that includes nutrition, physical activity, regular checkups and the right medications.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.