There’s nothing more important than having a heart. A healthy heart that is. I’m really lucky. I’ve got a heart of gold. Literally. On both sides of my heritage I come from strong Eastern European stock with no history of heart disease. But, even so, I still make sure to take care of my heart-I eat healthy (mostly), I exercise (mostly), and I try to keep my stress levels low (being an avoider has it’s perks).
I do this because I want to live a long life (read: irritate my husband and children for many years to come). Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada (surprising to know that this is true especially when it comes to women. Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death for women over 55?) To make sure that I can keep my heart pumping strong and sure, I do lots of research on how to be heart healthy.
Knowledge truly is power. So having a way to find out just how happy my heart is, my ‘heart age’ , is a great thing. Why? Because it will help me to manage the areas where I need to change or improve to keep this most important muscle pumping.
What do I mean by heart age? Well, it’s what it sounds like-the actual age of my heart as opposed to the physical age (which obviously would be my chronologically age since I haven’t had a heart transplant). Apparently, due to a number of risk factors – like blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking- my heart may be aging faster than the rest of me is (since I’m falling apart pretty fast overall, I’m not very excited about a competition like that).
How do I find out my heart age? Well, Shoppers Drug Mart has a cool online tool called the Heart Age Calculator test. It helps to calculate cardiovascular age and assess your risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years. You just click through and answer simple questions about your lifestyle, habits, healthy, and family history. If you don’t know the answer (like your actual cholesterol level, it helps you out with prompts and suggestions). The neat thing is that it’s scientifically validated (the only one of it’s kind) and gives a completely personalized heart age and cardiovascular risk profile (as recommended by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Guidelines).
Why is heart age important? The Canadian Cardiovascular Society recommends calculating your cardiovascular age and knowing your cardiovascular risk profile to improve the management of blood pressure and blood lipids.
Since I’ve had reports from my doctor that I’m pretty good on those fronts, and I quit smoking on a whim when I was 24, before I took the test I was sure that my heart would be much younger than me. And I was right! My results were pretty encouraging.
- Heart age: 40.3 (five years younger than my current age)
- Risk of cardiovascular disease over next 10 years: 1.1 %
- No modifiable risk factors
My Heart Age Test Results
Good thing the test didn’t ask how I feel when my kids take my car in a snowstorm. Now that’s a risk factor. Maybe I should let them know to add ‘Teenagers’ to the list right after smoking.
Even though I scored well, that doesn’t mean I can’t follow these tips to stay heart healthy. You should try them:
- Don’t smoke/ stop smoking
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Be active
- Watch your cholesterol levels
- Take control over your life, reduce stress
I’m so excited to share this message. I’m passionate about healthy eating and fitness, and heart health is such an important piece of the puzzle. It’s time to get for all Canadians to get Heart Healthy! Are you in? For more information on the Heart Age Calculator test, click here. To take the test, click here.
Please come back and tell me how you fared! I’m interested.
Disclosure – Although this post has been sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart Inc., the opinions and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect the views, opinions or positions of Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. or its affiliates or licensees. Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information within this blog post and will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information or for any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.