US Adults Have a "Heart Age" Older Than Their Actual Age!

US adults have hearts 7 years older than they should be!

February is Heart Month, the perfect time to learn about the rise of heart disease in all age categories, young and old.

Most US adults have a “heart age” older than their actual age, placing them at greater risk of stroke or heart attack.

In fact, younger adults from the age of 35 and up are often diagnosed with heart risks and inflammatory issues, so it’s no longer an older person’s concern.

One way to understand your risk for a heart attack or stroke is to learn your “heart age.”
Heart age is the age of your heart and blood vessels as a result of your risk factors for heart attack and stroke. Watch this video and figure out your own “heart age” by taking this quiz.

There may be other ways of looking at your risk for having a heart attack or stroke, but heart age is one way to help you understand cardiovascular anti-aging . You want a heart age that’s the same or younger than your actual age.

Data from the Framingham Heart Study and information collected from every US state details facts about 69 million US adults who haven’t had a heart attack or stroke.  It shows they have a heart age that is 5 or more years older than their actual age!

This equals the population numbers of people living in 130 of the  largest US cities combined. It equates to 1 in 2 men (and 2 in 5 women) having a heart age 5 or more years older than their actual age, with the average being 7 years older!

Some healthy heart goals are to (1) naturally maintain ideal blood pressure (less than 120/80)  and lower your heart age with (2) plant-based foods, (3) daily exercise, (4) good sleep patterns and (5) nutritional supplements.

Time to Change these Statistics

Half of all Americans have at least 1 of the top 3 risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking). Here are some ways to be heart-healthy at any age.

  • Carrying extra weight puts stress on the heart. More than 1 in 3 Americans (and nearly 1 in 6 children, ages 2 to 19) has obesity.
  • Blood Sugar. Diabetes causes sugar to build up in the blood. This can damage blood vessels and nerves that help control the heart muscle. Nearly 1 in 10 people in the United States has diabetes.
  • No Exercise. Staying physically active helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. Only 1 in 5 adults meets the physical activity guidelines of getting 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity.
  • Eating Salty Processed Foods. Most Americans, including children, eat too much salt (sodium), which increases blood pressure. Replacing foods high in sodium with fresh fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure. However, only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits and vegetables each day. Diets high in trans-fat, saturated fat and added sugar increase the risk factor for heart disease.
  • More than 37 million US adults are currently smokers. In addition, thousands of young people start smoking each day. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can cause heart disease.

4 Ways to Take Control of Your Heart Health

The steps you take now to help your heart can make a vast difference to your life span. You’re in the driver’s seat to heal and revitalize when it comes to your heart health.

  1. Eat your way to better heart health.

Make heart-healthy eating changes.  Eat food with a new perspective. Try to fill at least ⅔ of your plate with fruits and vegetables. This naturally helps reduce sodium and sugar. Learn more about how to reduce sodium.     

  1. Manage stress and weight. 

Work with your health care team to manage conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This includes taking any medications you’ve been prescribed. Learn more about preventing and managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

  1. Lower cholesterol with exercise.

Stay activeGet moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up 30 minutes into 10-minute blocks. Learn more about how to get more physical activity.

  1. Increase nitric oxide support to your body by using My Cardio and plant-based food.

Nitric oxide is a vital molecule produced by your body that impacts heart, immune and brain health. It helps blood vessels maintain flexibility, promotes proper blood flow and may provide various health benefits, including (1) improved exercise performance, (2) lower blood pressure and (3) better brain function (1234).

Healthy Foods Appendix

  1. Beets are rich in dietary nitrates, which your body can convert to nitric oxide.
  2. Garlic—Human and animal studies indicate garlic has the ability to increase nitric oxide.
  3. Meat, poultry and seafood are all excellent sources of coenzyme Q10, or Co-Q10 — an important compound believed to help preserve nitric oxide in the body (15).
  4. Dark Chocolate has been associated with improved blood flow, enhanced brain function and lower risk of heart disease because of its rich content of nitric-oxide-boosting flavanols. (232425)
  5. Leafy Green Vegetables—such as spinach, arugula, kale and cabbage—are packed with nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in your body. More about leafy green vegetables (26).
  6. Citrus Fruits— Studies indicate that citrus fruit consumption may be linked to decreased blood pressure, improved brain function and lower risk of heart disease. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which can enhance the bioavailability of nitric oxide and increase levels of nitric oxide synthase.
  7. Watermelon is one of the best sources of citrulline, an amino acid that ultimately converts to arginine and nitric oxide in your body. More on Watermelon health benefits.
  8. Pomegranate is loaded with potent antioxidants that can protect your cells against damage and preserve nitric oxide. Read 12 Proven Benefits of Pomegranate.
  9. Nuts and Seeds—A major benefit of nuts and seeds is that they’re high in arginine, an amino acid that’s involved in the production of nitric oxide. Because of their arginine content, it’s shown that regularly eating nuts and seeds is associated with lower blood pressure, improved cognition and increased endurance (44454647).
  10. Red Wine contains many powerful antioxidants and is tied to a multitude of health benefits (51). One test-tube study showed that treating cells with red wine  increased levels of nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme involved in the production of nitric oxide (52).