Look after your loved one’s heart this Valentine’s Day
Public Health Liverpool is urging people to find out the age of their loved one’s heart, using the new heart age tool launched by the Public Health England – My Heart Age.
February is Heart Month and, in partnership with Public Health England, the British Heart Foundation, and NHS Choices, Liverpool City Council’s public health team want to raise awareness of heart disease – one of the leading causes of premature death in the city.
Almost 19,000 adults over 40 in Liverpool have been diagnosed with heart disease, representing around 1 in 12 people, although in some parts of the city it is as high as one 1 in 10.
It is estimated that almost a third of people living with heart disease are not known to their GP and more than 4 in 5 people with heart disease in the city have at least one other long term condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or depression.
Using the new tool, people can find out the age of their heart by inputting simple lifestyle information such as their weight and whether they smoke and see how this compares to their actual age. They can then take action to improve their health.
The personalised results, give an opportunity for people to take action to reduce their risk of developing serious but preventable conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia.
In more than 90% of cases the risk of first heart attack is linked to potentially modifiable risk factors including smoking, poor diet, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, low physical activity, overweight / obese, diabetes, psycho-social stress and excess alcohol consumption.
Around a quarter of adults in Liverpool are regular smokers, only a third of people take part in regular moderate physical activity and only 40 percent eat the recommended 5-a-day fruit and vegetables.
Dr Sandra Davies, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, said: “We know that too many people are dying prematurely from preventable conditions and there is clear evidence that factors like smoking and high blood pressure play a major role in this.
“The heart age tool shows that it is never too late to make healthy lifestyle changes, giving people a chance to see the direct impact these changes can have on their heart’s health.
“It is really important that people aged between 40 and 74 take up the free five-year health check at their GP when it is offered to them. It is a really important way of identifying diseases or conditions and can reduce the risk of developing some of the most disabling – but preventable – illnesses.”
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Knowing your risk of developing heart and circulatory disease is crucial to taking control of your health. Armed with this knowledge you can start to make lifestyle changes to help protect yourself against heart attacks and strokes.
“February is Heart Month, so the perfect opportunity to use our new Heart Age Tool, so why not give it a go and start planning the lifestyle changes that will protect your heart?”
The new heart age tool is on the NHS Health Check website which provides information about what happens at the NHS Health Check, when and how to get one, and how to lower your risk. Visit www.nhs.uk/MyHeartAge to calculate your heart’s age.
The NHS Health Check is your chance to get a free midlife MOT. If you’re aged 40-74 and don’t have a pre-existing health condition you will invited for your check by your GP surgery. For more information speak to your surgery or visit www.nhs.uk/healthcheck