Our heart age tool reveals four in five people have hearts older than their actual age

29 September 2016        

Category: Survival and support

A cross section of a heart imaged in red

According to our research nearly 80 per cent of people over the age of 30 have a heart older than their actual age, putting them at higher risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke. 

Largest study of its kind

The study, published in the BMJ Open, looked at 575,000 users of the heart age tool over the course of six months. The research found that nearly nine in ten men under 40 (87 per cent) had a heart older than they were, compared to 41 per cent of women. Of these, over a quarter (28 per cent) had a heart age greater than their chronological age by at least five years.

The research also found people were unaware of their own cardiovascular risk factors. Four in five people (78.8 per cent) did not know what their cholesterol levels were, and almost half (49.5 per cent) did not know or input their blood pressure.

World Heart Day

To mark World Heart Day we are encouraging people to use our newly updated online tool to find out how old their heart is. The older a person's heart age, the higher their risk of a heart event like a stroke or heart attack. A heart age greater than 70 increases the risk significantly.

Almost a million people (960,000) have used the tool since its launch in February 2015. From today, the new version of the tool will recommend interventions and advice on how to lower cardiovascular risk. The tool was developed in collaboration with Public Health England and NHS Choices.

Know your risk

Dr Mike Knapton, our Associate Medical Director, said:

"Knowing your heart age is vital to taking control of your health. Armed with this knowledge you can start to make changes to help protect yourself against cruel and life changing events such as heart attack and stroke.

"Research has shown that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, poor diet and a lack of exercise, as well as a lack of investing in your future health and fitness all contribute to increasing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease."

John Deanfield, BHF Professor of Cardiology who led the development of the Heart Age Tool, said:

"Our research shows that helping people to clearly understand their risk of heart disease, and the lifestyle and medication options for lowering it, can empower them to make significant improvements to their heart health with the potential to last a lifetime."

What's your heart age?

Find out how old your heart is and how to manage your risk.

Try the tool