Looking after your heart
The heart age test:
- Tells you your heart age compared to your real age
- Explains why it's important to know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers
- Gives advice on how to reduce your heart age
QRISK2 Score Explained
We use a computerised scoring tool called QRISK2 to estimate a ‘risk score’ (as a percentage) of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. The higher the score, the greater the risk.
The tool uses the information in your medical records, including the following:
- Age, gender, ethnicity, postcode (deprivation score)
- Blood pressure, cholesterol level, body mass index (height and weight), smoking status
- Existing medical conditions, e.g. diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease
- Treatment for blood pressure
- Family history of angina, heart attack (in relatives under 60 years)
New guidance from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) suggests that anyone with score of more than 10% should be offered an interventional treatment.
The treatment plan would include lifestyle modification (e.g. stop smoking, dietary changes), lowering blood pressure and sometimes the use of a cholesterol lowering medication – (Statin) Statin medication can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke by around 25%. This is referred to as ‘primary prevention’.
Please contact the Practice for an appointment with your GP if you would like to discuss further or would like to commence on a statin.
Below is some information about diet as part of lifestyle modification
Changing from an unhealthy diet to a healthy diet can reduce a cholesterol level. However, dietary changes alone rarely lower a cholesterol level enough to change a person's risk of cardiovascular disease from a high-risk category to a lower-risk category. However, any extra reduction in cholesterol due to diet will help.
A healthy diet has other benefits too, apart from reducing the level of cholesterol.
Briefly, a healthy diet means:
- AT LEAST five portions, or ideally 7-9 portions, of a variety of fruit and vegetables per day.
- A THIRD OF MOST MEALS should be starch-based foods (such as cereals, wholegrain bread, potatoes, rice, pasta), plus fruit and vegetables.
- NOT MUCH fatty food such as fatty meats, cheeses, full-cream milk, fried food, butter, etc. Use low-fat, mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated spreads.
- INCLUDE 2-3 portions of fish per week, at least one of which should be oily (but, if you are pregnant, you should not have more than two portions of oily fish a week).
- LIMIT SALT to no more than 6 g a day (and less for children).
- If you eat red meat, it is best to EAT LEAN RED MEAT, or eat poultry such as chicken.
- If you do fry, choose a VEGETABLE OIL such as sunflower, rapeseed or olive
How healthy is your heart?
Below is a link to the NHS website that will tell you the age of your heart compared to your real age, just simply input the details required. The heart age test will also explain why it's important to know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers as well as advice and guidance on how you could reduce your heart age.