Learn if your heart is older or younger than you are

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- How old is your heart? You might say it's your age. But your heart could be younger or older when it comes to your risk for heart disease and stroke. A new online tool can tell you.

Three employees of Midwest Heart and Vascular at Menorah Medical Center are not faint of heart. They agreed to be weighed and have their blood pressure checked so they'd have up-to-date data for the Heart Age Predictor. It's an online tool from the Centers for Disease Control that reveals whether your cardiovascular system is aging faster or slower than you are. It looks at factors such as your upper blood pressure number, body mass index and whether you smoke or have diabetes.

Kennesha Beals, age 30, finds her heart age is 31.

"A little bit older than what I am which is not bad," Beals said.

The news is not as good for Randy Livengood. The predictor says his heart is 48, six years older than his actual age.

"This actually doesn't surprise me. I have a family history of cardiac issues and hypertension," Livengood said.

He said the finding gives him a push.

"Go back to my cardiologist I've been non-compliant for a couple of years now," he said.

Dr. Rachel Sosland, a cardiologist with Midwest Heart and Vascular, said the predictor is a good first step.

"From there, you can get further advice from your physician on what other treatments may be appropriate or tests might be appropriate to further delineate your risk. There's so many things we can affect like our diabetes, our high blood pressure, our high cholesterol," Dr. Sosland said.

Kelly Groner's actual age is 50 while her heart age is 51.

"I'm surprised. I thought it would be worse because of the weight," Groner said.

But Groner doesn't have other risk factors.

"It makes me think if I got some weight off, that would probably help," she said.

To be younger at heart.

Consider this: A 50-year-old woman who has diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity has a heart age of 85. All three of our participants did better than the national averages.

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