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Heart age calculators

A tool to help motivate patients to have a Heart Health Check

Communicating risk to patients can be difficult via traditional methods and sometimes unhelpful. Heart age is an innovative way of communicating CVD risk to better motivate behaviour change.

Heart age is an initial indication of an individual’s overall risk of heart attack or stroke compared to a defined healthy range. A heart age that is older than an individual’s biological age may be suggestive of elevated CVD risk or presence of at least one risk factor (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Example of someone with a higher heart age than their actual age.

The Heart Foundation’s Heart Age Calculator

  • Is an online motivational tool to raise awareness about heart disease risks and prompt users to take action and see their GP for a more comprehensive assessment such as a Heart Health Check.
  • Uses an algorithm to calculate the probability of a cardiovascular event occurring in the next five years using the risk factor information entered. The algorithm is based on the Framingham Risk Function.
  • Is intended for people aged 35 to 75 who do not have heart disease or have not previously had a heart attack or stroke.
  • Has been shown to motivate eligible individuals to improve their diet, increase their physical activity levels and see their GP for a clinical check-up.1

Important note: The Heart Age Calculator is not a clinical decision-making tool and does not replace the need for patients to see their doctor for a more comprehensive assessment such as a Heart Health Check.


References

  1. C Bonner, N Raffoul, T Battaglia, JA Mitchell, C Batcup and B Stavreski, ‘Experiences of a national web-based heart age calculator for cardiovascular disease prevention: user characteristics, heart age results, and behavior change survey’, J Med Internet Res, 2020, 22(8):e19028, doi:10.2196/19028.

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