Hearts and February go hand-in-hand. It is, after all, the romantic month of Valentine’s Day, the day we celebrate those who hold the keys to our heart. You know what’s even more romantic than going out to a special dinner, though? Taking care of your heart health so you can spend many more Valentine’s Days together. That’s why February is also designated as “heart health” month.
While you should be taking care of your heart all year round, February is a great month to really take a look at your overall heart health and see where you could use a little extra help. I’m going to be completely honest here: I really don’t pay enough attention to my heart health. Although my grandmother died from heart disease, it didn’t happen until she was close to 80. At 38, I figure I have a lot of time to worry about it. That’s a horrible outlook, though, so I’m vowing to start paying attention now! After all, heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death in Canada and the United States.
Get Heart-Smart with the Heart Age Calculator Provided by Shoppers Drug Mart
Getting heart-smart starts with looking at the factors of your lifestyle that affect the “age” of your heart. As I said, I’m 38 in chronological years. That doesn’t mean I have the heart of a 38-year-old woman. Canadian Cardiovascular Society recommends that everyone know the age of their heart, that way you can see where you need improving. In fact, research shows that arming yourself with this knowledge may lead to making better choices and better managing your overall heart health.
I took the Heart Age Calculator test provided by Shoppers Drug Mart to find out just how old my “ticker” really is. The Heart Age Calculator is an easy-to-use online tool that helps Canadians find out the true age of their heart. Just answer the questions on the screen- honestly- and you’ll discover your cardiovascular age as well as your risk of heart disease over the next 10 years. This tool is the only scientifically validated online tool of its kind that offers a personalized heart age and risk profile as recommended by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Guidelines.
Wondering why I bolded the word “honestly”? Well, here some more honesty of my own: I lied throughout the entire test. I wanted to come across as this vision of health. After all, I’m a medical writer and former nursing student. Here’s a little secret, though: those of us who teach healthy practices are usually the worst at following our own advice.
With my lies, my heart age was 35.1. A full three years younger than my real age! Then I told the truth. I didn’t fudge my weight, exercise levels or anything else. You know, it really wasn’t that bad! My true heart age: 39.1.
That’s less than a year older than I am, since I’ll be 39 in July. The moral of this story: don’t lie because it does nothing to help you learn about your true heart age and, really, the truth may not be as bad as you think!
Understanding your heart age score
See, the reason my heart age didn’t come out much higher than I thought it would is because I really don’t have a lot of risk factors for heart disease. Granted, I don’t eat as well as I should and I exercise far less than I should. On the other hand, my blood pressure pretty much rocks and my cholesterol levels are great. Your true heart age is determined by many factors, including: weight, waist size, activity levels, whether or not you smoke, prior history of heart disease, diabetes, and other factors. Some of those factors carry more weight than others.
Tips to improve and maintain your heart health
Just because my heart is healthier than I thought it may be doesn’t mean I can start slacking on its care! Here are a few tips to maintain your heart health.
- If you smoke, stop!
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Live an active lifestyle. Start small if you have to, just increase your levels of activity until it becomes a part of your daily routine.
- Regulate your Cholesterol Levels
- Take Control: this means applying all the above tips, visiting your doctor with any concerns you have and getting proactive about your heart health.
It’s time to get Heart Healthy and encourage other Canadians to do the same. The first step: find out your heart’s true age with the Heart Age Calculator. I did it, so can you! Come back and tell us how it went! Were you surprised by your results?
Find out your heart’s age with the Heart Age Calculator!
Disclosure – Although this post has been sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart Inc., the opinions and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect the views, opinions or positions of Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. or its affiliates or licensees. Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information within this blog post and will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information or for any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.