A new quiz helps to assess your heart health
Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. but many of the factors that raise our risk are entirely preventable.
A health system in Michigan has a new tool to help patients assess their risk.
Dr. Barry Franklin, cardiologist, "Each year we lose over 800,000 people to cardiovascular disease."
Doctor Barry Franklin is the director of Preventive Cardiology at Beaumont Hospital, he doesn't mince words when it comes to the risk.
"In a nutshell, people have to recognize that if you're 50 or over you're more likely than not have cardiovascular disease, so assume you have it. Assume you're a heart patient."
That's why Franklin is a big fan of Beaumont's Heart Health Risk Assessment. It asks key questions about your age, weight, your family history, and lifestyle.
"What it does it then calculates, two things - your heart age in other words the heart age is what your heart is equivalent to for someone your age and your 10-year risk of developing a cardiac event."
If your heart age is older than your actual age that's a problem.
So is an elevated ten-year risk.
"For people who have 10, 15% over the next 10 years that puts them in a moderate to high-risk category and it suggests those are individuals who really need to favorably modify their lifestyle and reduce their risk factors."
Franklin says people need to be much more proactive about their health.
"Where it all starts is poor diet, physical inactivity, and cigarette smoking. Sometimes people put their head in the sand too long. People who don't see a physician or people who have often times assume if I don't have symptoms I'm fine and when it comes to heart disease it's called the silent disease."
"New studies suggest that 85% of all adults over the age of 50 have cardiovascular disease so the question is do you have it? If you're over 50, I'm 85% confident you have it. The question is how do you prevent those acute cardiovascular events."
franklin says the single most important change you can make is to stop smoking... and avoid secondhand smoke too.
"The latest information suggests lifelong smokers lose on average 10 to 12 years. That's not weeks that's not days that's years."
When it comes to your heart health knowledge is power.
"If you come out very low risk, keep doing what you're doing. But if your risk is moderate to high you need to be aggressive in terms of changing your lifestyle and getting those risk factors favorably modified."
"I think it can be a wake-up call I think it could be an educational tool and I also think it could be highly highly motivating."
If you're interested in taking the quiz click here.