World Heart Day is commemorated every year, on the 29th of September in order to spread awareness about the risk factors for heart diseases and stroke, as well as to provide information on the ways in which a person can have a healthy heart.
However, the heart can become vulnerable to habitual risk factors like smoking, eating an unhealthy diet or putting it under stress. The system can also be weakened from a pre-existing heart condition. When your heart’s functions become compromised, this is known as cardiovascular disease, a broad term that covers any disorder to the system that has the heart at its center.
The WHO defines a risk factor as an attribute, characteristic or exposure of an individual that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or injury. It should be noted, however, that just because a person has a risk factor for heart disease, it does not mean that they will necessarily develop that disease. It does, however, mean that the person’s likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases increases. The risk factors for heart disease can be divided into two types – modifiable and non-modifiable.
- Modifiable risk factors: Those that can be eliminated through medical intervention or lifestyle changes
- Unhealthy diet
- Lack of physical activity
- High BP
- Tobacco use
- Unhealthy diet
- Non-modifiable risk factors: Those that cannot be eliminated, but rather have to be worked around through a healthy lifestyle
- A family history of heart disease
- Socioeconomic status
YOUR HEART AGE
While your chronological age is the number of years that you have lived since your birth, you heart age is a little more complex. Your heart age is one way to ascertain your risk for a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases. It is calculated by using the following metrics: your age, family history with heart disease, diet, physical activity, smoking, weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. A higher heart age implies that you might be at a greater risk for heart disease. The aforementioned metrics are not chosen arbitrarily, in fact, they are the leading risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
You can now check your own heart age with the Aster Clinic heart age calculator. Just provide the online tool with the necessary information and have your heart age calculated for you.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of chronic disease morbidity and mortality all over the world. Around 17.7 million people worldwide succumb to cardiovascular diseases every year.
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