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New Calculator Estimates Your Hearts Real Age

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ATLANTA, Ga. -

You know how old you are, but how old is your heart?

A new heart risk calculator created by the Joint British Societies may give you a wakeup call.

Before you try it out, you'll need to know some basic information, like your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

You also need some information about your health habits and family history.

Plug all of that in and the "heart age calculator" will do the math for you, and estimate your true heart age.

If you've wondered how your habits are affecting our heart, this calculator will tell you.

Grady Hospital's Chief of Cardiology, Dr. Allen Dollar, says while it's pretty easy to ignore your doctor's warnings you could have heart attack or stroke years from now, "If you're 50 and I tell you that you have a heart of a 75 year old? That's something you can understand and would be motivational."

To show how the calculator works, we created an imaginary patient.

He's 40-years-old, has borderline high blood pressure and cholesterol, but has never been diagnosed with heart disease.

His only "red flag" is he smokes cigarettes. At least 20 a day. And that's a big deal with this calculator.

When it crunches his numbers, it tells out imaginary 40-year old his heart is 50!

Ouch! But, Dr. Dollar says, this calculator is based largely on four risk factors you have the power to change. He says, "You can't change your family history, no matter how much you want to, but it's blood pressure, cholesterol, body weight and whether or not you're a cigarette smoker."

And, he says, nothing ages your heart faster than smoking. Dr. Dollar says, "Just one cigarette, we know, can make the blood more likely to clot. It also can make the blood vessels in the heart spasm. So, yes, every cigarette is dangerous."

Putting on weight can also speed up the clock on your heart. Dr. Dollar says, "The risks really take off when people who are overweight then become diabetic as a result of that."

Talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. And Dr. Dollar says it's never too late to start thinking about your heart.

He says, "There is always benefit to be gained no matter how old you are. But the younger you are, the more important it is to begin to change now.

You can download the new Joint British Societies Heart Risk Calculator, here.

And if you think you're heart age is too high, Thursday on Good Day Atlanta, we'll show you how to lower it!

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