About 17.5 million people die each year from cardiovascular disease, which can be caused by high blood pressure. Knowing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help you to prevent such an outcome. Do you know your own blood pressure?
Approximately 1.4 million people visited the National Health Service (NHS) Health Check website within the first five months of a risk assessment tool being available last year. Researchers drew their data from information these visitors inputted into the system.
However, less than 50% of these people didn’t receive their assessment because they failed to complete enough steps. Not knowing critical numbers like blood pressure and cholesterol levels makes it difficult to give a health assessment.
Dr. Riyaz Patel, the lead study author from the University College London, stated:
“For disease prevention, it’s important that people take ownership of their risk and health and the first step is information. We hope that tools like this stimulate people to think more about their cardiovascular health and then either go to a health professional to get their risk factors formally assessed or take any actions suggested to improve their health.”
Patel and his team studied the data from the NHS Health Check website that was added from February to July 2015.
One of the tests that the site also runs is a “heart age” test, which corresponds to the visitor’s data about age, gender, weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
If the person is more at risk for cardiovascular disease, their heart age will be older than the visitor’s actual age. Accordingly, their heart age will be less if they are less likely to develop heart disease.
Out of 575,782 visitors who got their heart age, 79% of them had an older heart age than their biological age.
An alarming 87% of males and 41% of females under the age of 40 had a higher heart age than their actual age.
Additionally, 20% of younger men showed to be five years older in their heart age than their actual age.
This study points out that age does not mean less risk for cardiovascular disease. Many younger people feel immune to heart problems until they reach an older age.
However, if someone asks, “Do you know your own blood pressure?”, you should know at any age, not just over 50 years old.
Visiting a doctor regularly for checkups will help you to keep on top of your heart health and not get blindsided by cardiovascular disease.