In Kansas, women’s hearts were, on average, 5.4 years older than their chronological age, the same as the national figure.
Using data collected from all states, as well as information from the Framingham Heart Study, CDC researchers found that heart age varies by gender, region, ethnicity/race, and other sociodemographic characteristics.
“Heart age” is the calculated age of a person’s cardiovascular system based on his or her risk factor profile.
Southern states have the highest percentage of residents with a heart age five or more years older than they are, while the lowest rates were reported in Utah, Colorado, Calfornia, Hawaii and Massachusetts.
The CDC calculates heart age based on cardiovascular risk factors including smoking, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. For example, a 50-year-old man who smokes, is overweight and has untreated high blood pressure may have a predicted heart age of 72 years, meaning his risk of heart disease or stroke is that of a man of 72.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been crunching numbers on heart health and says many Americans have a heart age older than their actual age.
Vital Signs is a report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Cardiovascular disease is responsible for almost 800,000 deaths and approximately $320 billion in costs in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC.
This is the first study to provide population-level estimates of heart age and to highlight disparities in heart age nationwide.
And the agency provided a heart age calculator for determining your own heart age. For men, the average heart age was about eight years older than their chronological age; for women, their hearts were an average of five years older than their real age.
The heart-age concept was created to more effectively communicate a person’s risk for death from myocardial infarction or stroke-and to show what can be done to lower that risk.
Although heart age exceeds chronological age for all race/ethnic groups, it is highest among African-American men and women (average of 11 years older for both).
Percentage of adults (aged 30 to 74 with no history of heart attack or stroke) whose heart age is 5 or more years older than their actual age. People have to know their systolic blood pressure – the higher of the two measurements – to generate an estimate.
CDC officials said they were releasing the report and the online tool in the hopes that they would encourage people to be aware of their heart health and take measures to prevent heart disease before it is too late.
The calculator is meant to help doctors show patients how they can bring down their heart risks – such as quitting smoking or controlling high blood pressure.