Understanding heart health and setting realistic goals

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Understanding heart health and setting realistic goals – words Al Woods

With each new year comes an opportunity to improve one’s life, through updated and feasible goals for bettering financial circumstances, taking on new challenges in relationships and careers, and most importantly, boosting health and wellness.

It is clear that many adults throughout the UK have taken the latter on with gusto, as the mortality rates throughout the region have fallen noticeably over the last several years.


Advances in access to medical care along with updated technologies that have the power to improve lives tenfold are prompting even greater longevity among men and women alike, but many still face the threat of a health condition changing their life for the long-term. The leading cause of fatal complications in one’s life for men aged 50 and older, and the second and fourth leading cause of death for women between the ages of 35 and 64, and older than 80 respectively, is heart disease.

Given these glaring statistics, the last decade has brought forward countless campaigns and initiatives aimed at reducing the prevalence of heart disease, mostly through increased awareness of the warning signs and preventative tactics for men and women alike. In 2017, the British Heart Foundation joined together with Public Health England and NHS Choices, designed an easy-to-use online self-assessment tool called Know Your Heart Age. This interactive tool is available to anyone interested in learning more about the current state of their health as it relates to their heart, and presents information after a brief exam in a way that is easy to understand and act upon. The Know Your Heart Age tool also provides valuable information about blood pressure and cholesterol metrics, and actionable steps individuals can take based on their assessed heart age.

Setting Goals to Reduce Heart Age

Determining one’s heart age, regardless of their actual age, is relatively simple with the help of the new online tool. But recognising what steps need to be taken in order to improve heart health can be a challenge. For most, the path toward living a healthier life as it relates to heart health starts with understanding the causes of heart disease. Here are a few common heart health facts that impact both men and women in terms of their heart health:

  • Hypertension, known as high blood pressure
  • Diabetes and complications with the condition
  • Carrying excess weight or being medically obsess
  • A family history of heart disease, specifically with family members who are under the age of 55 for men and 65 for women
  • High blood cholesterol levels

Heart disease is linked to each one of these all too common medical conditions, and for some, the prevalence of the underlying cause of heart disease is correlated to lifestyle choices. Failing to get regular physical activity each day, eating high-fat foods on a regular basis, smoking or frequent alcohol intake all impact one’s potential to have a condition that can later cause heart disease. Those who have a strong heart health work to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into their every day. They make sure they eat healthy heart foods and they receive periodic checkups to ensure their heart remains strong as they age.

Knowing the Warning Signs

One of the more alarming aspects of having poor heart health is that issues related to the heart are often overlooked or misinterpreted by individuals and their medical providers. It’s important to watch for the signs of heart problems. A representative from a medical negligence firm of solicitors who handles cases involving misdiagnosis explains that research shows that one in three patients experiencing a heart attack due to heart disease who is seen by a doctor is initially misdiagnosed. This takes place because providers do not have quick access to the risk factors a specific patient faces unless the individual presents with obvious warning signs, like obesity. An otherwise healthy-looking individual may be misdiagnosed which could lead to incorrect or inadequate treatment. Patients suffering from a heart attack because of underlying heart disease are then left with an altered quality of life that may not be easily corrected.

The Know Your Heart Age tool is beneficial in giving men and women the opportunity take charge of their heart health by first understanding their risk factors and recognising the warning signs. But adults can take it a step further in the new year by committing to furthering their heart health through simple tasks. Scheduling an appointment to speak openly and honestly to your concerns about heart disease is one easy step, while requesting a heart health screening is another. The latter is a brief test that provides specific information related to an individual’s heart health, including blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Once these details are known, men and women can make behavioural and lifestyle changes as needed to improve their heart health and ultimately better their lives.

Understanding heart health and setting realistic goals – words Al Woods


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