Here’s a quick quiz for you – if you are 50 years old, what is your “heart age?”
If your immediate answer was, “The same age I am – 50, of course,” it’s likely that you are wrong. Your “heart age” can be – and in many cases is – different from your calendar age.
If you are 50, don’t smoke, have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels and have no family history of heart disease, your “heart age” could be 45. If you are 50 but a smoker with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, it could be 75.
The “heart age” concept was proposed by the Joint British Societies, a group of 11 professional medical societies in the United Kingdom involved in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. This group created the JBS3 Risk Calculator, a software tool that takes into account information about your age, gender, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking status, family history, and other risk factors to help you assess your lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and your predicted life expectancy.
Can I rely on the results of the JBS3 Risk Calculator?
Yes, but don’t ONLY rely on it. That is, although this software tool was created by medical professionals, its assessment of your heart health should NOT take the place of seeing a trained heart specialist in Hudson County. It is a tool designed to supplement the information you get from your doctors to give you a picture of your cardiac health in terms you can easily understand — how ‘old’ your heart is, how many years you can expect to live without a heart attack or stroke, and what your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years is.
The JBS3 Risk Calculator is an updated version of a well-known tool called the Framingham Risk Calculator, which was created by the Joint British Societies because on the basis of landmark research on heart disease called the Framingham study they felt the need to incorporate new risk factors such as obesity and diabetes into their “how at risk are you?” calculations. Because CVDs are still the #1 cause of death, these professionals wanted a prevention strategy that was less focused on those who have a high short-term risk of heart attack or stroke, and more focused on the much larger number of people whose current lifestyle choices are putting them at high lifetime risk of developing CVDs.
Where can I find the JBS3 Risk Calculator?
If you are already working with the best heart doctors in Bergen County at Cross County Cardiovascular, it is possible that you’ll see the results of this calculator anyway, because JBS3 is widely used by cardiologists to help them assess CVD risk in their patients. If you don’t, you can access the calculator for free online at: http://www.jbs3risk.com/.
It only takes a few minutes to enter the requested information (you may have to ask your doctor for your current blood pressure and cholesterol level), and see the results. The calculator will ask you to complete a number of questions, and then will generate your “Heart Age” (comparable to someone the same sex, age, gender, and ethnicity), your “Healthy Years” (showing roughly how many years you can expect to survive without a heart attack or stroke), and your “Heart Risk” (what the chances of you having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years are).
What should I do with the results?
If your JBS3 results show that your heart age is the same or lower than your actual age and that your risk of heart attack or stroke are relatively low, you can relax and continue to visit your Hackensack cardiologist every year or two for regular checkups. But if (as in the example above) you’re 50 and JBS3 thinks your heart age is 75, it’s time to schedule an appointment with the best heart doctors in Hudson County and start taking steps to reduce the factors that are putting you at risk.