In 2015 the NHS launched its Heart Age Test to help people discover if they were at risk of heart attack and stroke.
In 2017 the NHS has released new data on the survey and it concludes that:
From 1.2 million middle aged men who took the test showed that one in 10 50-year-olds has the heart of a 60-year-old man, suggesting they could die a decade earlier than they should.
The problem is worse for men than women. Of those found to have hearts which were 10 years older than their actual age, only 36 per cent were women. The majority, 64 per cent, were men.
I have just taken the test and according to the results, I have a heart age of 64.
Which I find a bit of puzzle.
I am 58, weigh 12st 12lbs, height 6ft had high blood pressure, but now have it under control and all the other questions I answered with yes or no. Now I was completely confused!
Why may you ask Why?
Well, for starters I am not overweight, have never smoked, with a good diet- no junk food.
Exercise 3 to 4 times a week, that includes cardio as well as lifting weights. Have a regular 8 hours a night sleep, and drink on occasions.
So how can they come up with an age of 64?
It seems to me that a lot of us are been painted with the same brush.
And also genetics plays a big part in our life expectancy.
Now, as far as I am aware there’s not much that can be done to change that. You are born with good genes or not.
For starters, they use BMI as way estimating your body mass index. But latest research has shown that it’s not the best way to measure your body fat.
So What Is Your BMI?
BMI is a calculation that divides people into one of four categories:
- People who are underweight, with a score of less than 18.5;
- Normal weight, with a score between 18.5 and 24.9;
- Overweight, with a score of 25 to 25.9;
- Obese, with a score of 30 or greater.
Basing this calculation on height and weight alone, however, doesn’t take into account a person’s bone, muscle, or fat proportions.
A person with exceptional muscle tone and low fat is more likely to have a higher BMI compared to someone with higher fat and lower muscle tone — this happens because muscle is four times as dense as fat tissue. In fact, many professional football players’ BMIs would place them in the obese category when they’re actually in better shape than the average person.
In fact, many professional football players’ BMIs would place them in the obese category when they’re actually in better shape than the average person.
So, if you really want to know what your fat content is, you may want to look at your total body fat content in relation to overall body weight.
The best way to find this is by just looking at yourself in the mirror. I have taken this from a great website if you want further help on this just follow the link.
Know Your Blood Pressure
Again on this question, every body should know their blood pressure. If you are like me I have a regular MOT, once every 6months.
And it’s true that high blood pressure is a silent killer and for me, on one of my first health check ups I found I had very high blood pressure or to gives its medical term “Hypertension”.
So for the last 10 years, I have been on medication to reduce my levels, and today my blood pressure is 120/75 which below the average needed.
So back to the heart test, if you answer yes to the question blood pressure and treatment do they take that into consideration when they calculate your score?
Surely it’s best to know that you have high blood pressure and to treat it.
I would strongly recommend that all men should go have a 6 month well man check up, it’s no embarrassment to say that you are looking after your heart and body.
It goes back to some bigger questions-
Do We Really Care or Even Be Bothered About Our Health?
Do We Just Find Excuses to Make Change?
Or Are We Just Happy With Body and Life Style?
Related Article: 6 million adults do not do a monthly brisk 10-minute walk
A sedentary lifestyle is part of the problem plus junk food.
As a child in the sixties, I would never be inside, always cycling running etc for hours every day.
My school had a huge sports field, and we did a cross country run every week.
These were the building blocks for a healthy heart.
For decades the government, via media campaigns, have been encouraging us all to look after ourselves through regular exercise and improved diet.
The aim is to reduce the burden on the NHS but perhaps also to help the economy.
Unfortunately, there is a group of people who, regardless of how anyone attempts to make them understand, will abdicate responsibility for themselves and more importantly their children.
We Live In A Nanny State?
Every time the Government, NHS or any other well meaning body/organization come up with research or advice on health, they should first look at themselves.
It’s all well and good Governments to push health and for independent bodies to publish their latest research, but while we live in a country that has sold its soul to the supermarket and fast food, more by choice than anything, we will see the number rising in heart attacks and strokes.
We live in a society that demands convenience, we want to be able to shop in one place, buy all our food in one place.
Food needs to fast and simple – We justify all this by – We live in a time when we are “Time Poor”
The days of picking up a recipe book and buying the ingredients and to follow recipe have long gone.
There is always an excuse that we don’t have enough time to prepare meals- that has now become the staple answer for most things.
Plus, when the Government has close ties with the major food manufacturers when it comes to food and health, both having their own agenda, then as a Nation we have very little chance of improving our health or to answer the question-How Old Is Your Heart?
OR should we as a Nation be honest with ourselves and say – I know my lifestyle is not good but I cannot find the time, energy or will to change.
And I have heard all before and to be honest I am not really interested.
We all know that too much salt and sugar in our diet is bad for our health, but we still carry on drinking fizzy drinks and having ready cooked meal, again that is down to personal as well as financial choice.
But while any Government is unwilling to change the status Quo in its relationship with the food industry and for economic policies to be more important than the health of the Nation and with no clear joined up policy on how to reduce obesity in the UK its no wonder that the population turns a blind eye to research.
But like most things in life it’s about effort and what you put into your life is what you get out.
Same with food.
When it comes down to food and health and exercise we tend to take the view, I know I should do more but what the heck!
Life is too short to worry about or to think about my health or even be bothered to know or ask for the answer to – how old is your heart.
It Comes Down To-
If you’re happy with how you look, your energy levels are good all day, and you don’t see any room for improvement, then keep doing what you’re doing.
There lies the problem.
The Government and all the health professionals can preach all day long but for most of the time, it’s falling on deaf ears.
So with every new bit of research, the media gets on the band wagon and hammers home the importance of health.
Middle aged men are the easiest of targets because they see us as been lazy and over weight and having no regular exercise.
This may or may not be true, but If I was a betting man I would go with the idea that most middle aged men need to lose weight, reduce stress, improve diets, stop smoking and reduce the drink.
By now most men upon reading this would have left the page and thought whats the point?
Again, that may be painting every man with the same brush and not all men fit the stereo image.
My point is this.
We all know what is good and what is bad when it comes to health and food. But how many of us are prepared to change?
We all can read, we all listen to the news and we all know what could happen to us if we continue with a sedentary lifestyle.
But our choice be it good or bad!
It has come to a point where Governments and the health industry including the NHS need to wise up to the situation and to come up with a fresh approach to health, exercise and to find a better way of asking a very simple question – How Old Is Your Heart.