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Drive to boost knowledge of heart health

New tool to find age of heart launched for patients

Adrian O'Dowd

Friday, 13 February 2015

Experts are launching a new drive to raise awareness of heart disease by providing a tool for patients to use to find out the “age” of their heart.

Public Health England (PHE) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) have launched a new My Heart Age tool for patients to use with the aim of raising awareness of heart disease during February, which is Heart Month.

Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the UK and in 2013, more than 18,000 people died prematurely this way. Most deaths from coronary heart disease are caused by heart attacks with an average of 90,000 attacks in England per year.

Using the new tool, people can find out the age of their heart by inputting simple lifestyle information, such as their weight and whether they smoke, and see how this compares to their actual age.

The personalised results are combined with the NHS Health Check programme, which is designed to help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia by inviting everyone in England between the ages of 40 and 74, who have not already been diagnosed with one of those conditions, to have a health check every five years to assess their risk.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said: “Too many people are dying prematurely from preventable conditions and there is clear evidence that factors like smoking and high blood pressure play a major role in this.

“The heart age tool shows that it is never too late to make healthy lifestyle changes, giving people a chance to see the direct impact these changes can have on their heart’s health.”

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the BHF, said: “Knowing your risk of developing heart and circulatory disease is crucial to taking control of your health. Armed with this knowledge you can start to make lifestyle changes to help protect yourself against heart attacks and strokes.”

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