Public Health England (PHE) is urging adults over the age of 30 to check their heart age via an online test that will enable them to see how at risk they are of having a heart attack or stroke.
The call for taking the test comes after PHE revealed that four-fifths (78 per cent) of adults in England had a heart age higher than their real age.
Doctors have subsequently warned that those with a heart age higher than their real age are at risk of “an early grave or ending up very disabled later in life”.
Professor Jamie Waterall, national lead for cardiovascular disease at PHE, said: "Millions are at risk of cardiovascular disease but don't know it, putting themselves at real risk of suffering ill-health or dying younger.
"Knowing your heart age is a simple way of finding out whether you're at risk of a heart attack or stroke.
"By making important lifestyle changes you can reduce your risk before it's too late."
So, how easy is it to find out your heart age? It turns out, there are a variety of ways:
1. Take PHE’s ‘Heart Age Test’
The Heart Age Test is an online tool created by the NHS, PHE, UCL and the British Heart Foundation.
It consists of 16 questions, asking for your age, height, weight, gender, ethnicity and post code among other factors. It also takes into consideration lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, blood pressure and cholesterol.
You must be over the age of 30 to take the test and must not have a history of cardiovascular disease.
If your heart age is higher than your real age, the tool will give you advice on how to lower it. It will also give you a percentage which reveals your chance of having a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years.
Thus far, the test has been completed more than 1.9 million times.
The Heart Age Test is available free online here.
2. Get tested by Cardiac Risk in the Young
Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) offers a free heart screening programme to aimed at those aged 14 to 35.
Formed in 1995, CRY is a charity which supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions by developing screening programmes and funding medical research.
The organisation is funded by families whose members have been affected by deaths due to cardiac-related diseases; the screenings are available across the UK and can be booked online.
Usually taking no longer than 15 minutes, each screening will comprise of a medical history questionnaire and an ECG (electrocardiogram).
Afterwards, the doctor will sit down with the patient to talk patients through the results.
If anything has been picked up, the patient will be fast-tracked to other doctors for treatment.
According to data collected by CRY, 1 in 300 people screened will have life-threatening cardiac conditions.
For more information on heart screenings offered by CRY, visit their website here.
3. Visit a specialist screening clinic
There are of course a number of clinics across the UK that specialise in cardiac screening who will be able to offer you a comprehensive examination.
However, these will most likely come at a fee, which will vary depending on how thorough a result you want.
Private charities, such as Heart for Life, also offer screenings across the country and these can be booked online however, there will also be a charge.
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