Most of us are keenly aware of our numeric age. But there’s a big difference between chronological age and biological age – our true vintage. Biological age measures the wear and tear we’ve subjected our bodies to and is a better indicator of longevity and future health problems, especially your risk for heart attack and stroke.
The factors that determine the heart’s biological age include:
- chronological age
- blood pressure
- blood sugar
- weight or BMI (body mass index)
- whether you smoke
If you don’t know your BMI, you can calculate it here.
Interested in learning your heart’s biological age? Use this online calculator where you’ll input your own data.
So what should you do if your heart is older than you are?
- First, know that you are not alone. The average American man has a heart that is 8 years older than his age, while the average American woman has a heart that is 5 years older.
- Next, see how the heart age changes if you modify some of your responses. What happens if you go from yes to no for smoking? What happens if your blood pressure goes from 150 to 130? What happens when your BMI goes from 34 to 26?
- Third, take action. Work on the risk factors you can change. Take concrete steps to lose weight, lower your blood pressure and blood sugar. And I’m not even going to mention quitting smoking – because if you smoke you already know you need to do that.
Most importantly, remember that your blood pressure, your blood sugar and your weight are all driven by what you eat. So whenever you make a better nutrition choice, you are literally helping to turn back the hands of time.