Press release

PHE launches new tool to raise awareness about heart disease

This Valentine’s Day (14 February 2015), PHE is encouraging people to find out the age of their loved one’s heart by using the 'My Heart Age' tool.

February is Heart Month, and an opportunity to raise awareness of heart disease, one of the leading causes of premature death in England.

Over 18,000 people died prematurely from coronary heart disease in 2013. Using the new tool, people can find out the age of their heart by inputting simple lifestyle information, such as their weight and whether they smoke, and see how this compares to their actual age. They can then take action to improve their health.

The personalised results, combined with the free NHS Health Check, give an opportunity for people to take action to reduce their risk of developing serious but preventable conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and certain types of dementia.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England (PHE), said:

Too many people are dying prematurely from preventable conditions and there is clear evidence that factors like smoking and high blood pressure play a major role in this.

The heart age tool shows that it is never too late to make healthy lifestyle changes, giving people a chance to see the direct impact these changes can have on their heart’s health.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said:

Knowing your risk of developing heart and circulatory disease is crucial to taking control of your health. Armed with this knowledge you can start to make lifestyle changes to help protect yourself against heart attacks and strokes.

February is Heart Month, so the perfect opportunity to use our new Heart Age Tool, so why not give it a go and start planning the lifestyle changes that will protect your heart?

Dawn Bail from Bury, North West had her NHS Health Check in 2013 and was shocked by the results. Dawn said;

I knew I wasn’t the healthiest person but being told I was obese and at risk of serious health problems was a real wake-up call. Since then I have completely changed both mine and my husband’s lifestyles, going to the gym regularly and having homemade meals. In fact I was actually looking forward to my last check which showed my BMI to be normal and a fantastic low risk of cardiovascular disease.

The new heart age tool is on the NHS Health Check website which provides information about what happens at the NHS Health Check, when and how to get one, and how to lower your risk.

Further information

  1. The new heart age test can be completed online at NHS Choices Public Health England, the British Heart Foundation, Joint British Society and NHS choices developed the on-line tool to allow members of the public to calculate their heart age and better understand their risk of serious conditions.
  2. Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the UK. Most deaths from coronary heart disease are caused by heart attacks with an average of 90,000 attacks in England per year. 18,364 people in England under the age of 75 died from heart disease in 2013 (Office for National Statistics annual mortality extract (2013): analysis undertaken by Public Health England (unpublished), 2015). View data on heart disease and stroke by local authority .
  3. The NHS Health Check is an opportunity to engage 15 million people to live well for longer. Those aged 40 to 74 in England are assessed and enabled to take control over their own health, taking early action to reduce their risk of developing serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of dementia.
  4. For over 50 years the British Heart Foundation has pioneered research that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Their work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many Mums, Dads and Grandparents who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. For more information visit the BHF website.
  5. During Heart Month the BHF is offering an email support programme and advice to help people improve their diet, get more active or quit smoking. For more information about the Heart Month 10 minute challenge visit or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag, #10MinChallenge
  6. Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk

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