I've heard people talk about "heart age." What does that mean?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Heart age is a way to understand your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Your heart age is calculated based on your risk factors for heart disease, such as age and family history, as well as diet, physical activity and smoking. A younger heart age means a lower risk of heart disease.

The Heart Age Predictor is a free online tool that calculates your heart age. It was adapted from the Framingham Study Heart Age Calculator. The Heart Age Predictor is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

If you're like most Americans, your heart age is older than your actual age. But you can lower your heart age by adopting a healthier lifestyle. To start, don't smoke. If you do, get help to quit.

In addition, eating a healthy diet and being physically active can help you lower your heart disease risk factors by:

  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Improving your cholesterol
  • Managing your weight
  • Controlling your blood sugar

The DASH and Mediterranean diets are heart-healthy ways to eat. You can start with small changes:

  • Include a vegetable at two meals and one snack each day.
  • Add a fruit at each meal.
  • Top salads with a small handful of nuts.
  • Swap beans for meat at one meal a week.
April 14, 2018 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. Abdominal pain
  2. Angina treatment: Stents, drugs, lifestyle changes — What's best?
  3. Anxiety disorders
  4. Blood tests for heart disease
  5. 4 Ways to Prevent Heart Attack
  6. Fact or Fiction? Debunking Exercise & Nutrition Myths for Preventing Heart Disease and Risk Factors
  7. Healthy Heart Numbers
  8. Heart disease in women
  9. Mayo Clinic - Holiday Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
  10. New Route to the Heart
  11. Sports Cardiology Program
  12. Calcium supplements: A risk factor for heart attack?
  13. Can vitamins help prevent a heart attack?
  14. Cardiac catheterization
  15. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): First aid
  16. Chelation therapy for heart disease: Does it work?
  17. Chest X-rays
  18. Control your portions, control your weight
  19. Coronary angiogram
  20. Coronary artery disease
  21. Coronary artery disease: Angioplasty or bypass surgery?
  22. Coronary bypass surgery
  23. Daily aspirin therapy
  24. Dizziness
  25. Drug-eluting stents
  26. ECG at Mayo Clinic
  27. Echocardiogram
  28. Ejection fraction: What does it measure?
  29. Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  30. Excessive sweating
  31. Fasting diet: Can it improve my heart health?
  32. Fatigue
  33. Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack
  34. Flu shots and heart disease
  35. Four Steps to Heart Health
  36. Grass-fed beef
  37. Healthy eating: One step at a time
  38. Healthy Heart for Life!
  39. Healthy heart for life: Avoiding heart disease
  40. Heart attack
  41. Heart attack
  42. Heart attack prevention: Should I avoid secondhand smoke?
  43. Heart attack symptoms
  44. Heart Attack Timing
  45. Heart disease
  46. Heart disease in women: Understand symptoms and risk factors
  47. Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
  48. Heartburn or chest pain?
  49. Infographic: How heart-healthy people can suffer a heart attack
  50. Interval Training
  51. Menus for heart-healthy eating
  52. Nausea and vomiting
  53. Niacin to boost your HDL, 'good,' cholesterol
  54. NSAIDs: Do they increase my risk of heart attack and stroke?
  55. Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
  56. Omega-3 in fish
  57. Omega-6 fatty acids
  58. Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?
  59. Protein: Heart-healthy sources
  60. Pseudoaneurysm: What causes it?
  61. Put fish on the menu
  62. Red wine, antioxidants and resveratrol
  63. Secondhand smoke
  64. Shortness of breath
  65. Silent heart attack
  66. Sleep disorders
  67. Sodium: Smarten up
  68. Heart disease prevention
  69. Stress test
  70. Symptom Checker
  71. Testosterone therapy side effects: What are the heart risks?
  72. Infographic: The blueprints to your heart
  73. Integrative approaches to treating pain
  74. Lifestyle strategies for pain management
  75. Nutrition and pain
  76. Pain rehabilitation
  77. Self-care approaches to treating pain
  78. Treating pain: Conventional medical care
  79. Treating pain: Overview
  80. Understanding pain
  81. Video: Heart and circulatory system
  82. Infographic: Women and Heart Disease