I never think about myself as getting older, or my heart age. I suppose none of us do. We remain youthful and healthy in our minds, even as our bodies are letting us know that we have left our youth behind. When I turned 40 last year I was in a state of disbelief. How could I possibly be forty years old? I didn’t feel any different than I did a decade before, and forty year olds are middle aged. I am certainly not middle aged! My body had been whispering about age for a while, but it started to shout once I turned 40. My vision worsened and wrinkles started to appear. Old health concerns became more apparent and new ones started popping up. It seemed like I became middle aged overnight! Of course that’s not the case. I had been ignoring inklings of my age for many years and they could no longer be ignored.
My Nana suffered multiple strokes in the last years of her life. She was a smoker and naturally I always attributed her strokes to that, but there could have been other causes as well. My Paternal Grandfather died from a heart attack long before I was born, which means that I have a family history of heart and stroke issues and I need to be cognizant of that. With my age (now 41) and family history in mind, I decided to use the Heart Age Calculator.
Heart Age Calculator
The Heart Age Calculator is an online tool that helps Canadians calculate their cardiovascular age and assess their risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years by answering simple lifestyle questions (like your height, age, weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, personal and family history, your daily habits and more).
It is the only scientifically validated online tool available that provides a personalized heart age and cardiovascular risk profile as recommended by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Guidelines.
Not surprisingly, my results were not great. My cardiovascular age is 44.9.
My husband’s family has a significant history of heart disease and I worry about his health, so I asked him to take the test too. He scored 38.7.
Heart Disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada. I have four children that I want to be around for, but I also want to live a long and active life, so it’s time to make some changes. Thankfully I don’t smoke, my blood pressure is fine and I do make sure that I’m somewhat active each day, but my weight is an issue. I need to eat better and exercise more so that I can lose weight and reduce my cholesterol. My husband needs to lose some weight too, but is otherwise on the right track.
Knowledge is power when it comes to heart health and now that I know my risk factors and what I need to change, I just have to make a plan and work towards my goals. I started running again last year, and as a family we are continuing to be active through running. We even took part in the run Disney program in October and we hope to do another one soon.
Essentially, there are five important things to do in order to reach your ideal heart age:
- Stop Smoking
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Apply an active lifestyle
- Regulate your Cholesterol Levels
- Take Control
I’m working on the active lifestyle and hope to have a better score in a month or two.
It’s very important to understand that your heart may be aging faster than you. I think we all fall into that “I’m not old” mindset that can prevent us from thinking about heart health, but understanding that our hearts age faster than us will help us be diligent about taking care of our hearts.
Let’s encourage our fellow Canadians to start taking care of their hearts by taking the Heart Age Calculator test. You don’t have to share your results with anyone, and you can encourage friends and family to take the test too. You could be saving someone’s life!
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.