Eight in 10 Australians likely to have a heart attack: study

Most of the one million taking the test walked away with shocking results.

woman holding a 3d printed heart

This year, around one million – or one in 11 – Australians aged between 35 and 75 have completed the Heart Age Calculator on the Heart Foundation website.

The calculator assesses a person’s heart age, so that they can better understand their risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and what they can do about it.

Of the one million who took the test, an alarming eight in 10 were at higher risk of a heart attack.

“Close to one in six people who did the test had a heart age at least 10 years higher than their real age, suggesting they have a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to the average person their age,” said the Heart Foundation’s Group CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly.

The test takes less than a minute to complete. By answering questions about age, sex, smoking and diabetes status, height and weight, cholesterol, blood pressure levels, medicines, and family history of heart attack or stroke, the calculator provides a heart age, which is an initial indication of a person’s overall risk for heart disease compared to a defined healthy range.

A heart age older than a person’s biological age indicates increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Only eight per cent of test participants had a heart age equal to their physical age and 13 per cent had a heart age lower than their biological age.

Two in five of those who knew their cholesterol levels had a high total cholesterol level, and of those who knew their blood pressure, one in six had a high systolic blood pressure.

“This is a concern because high blood pressure and cholesterol are two key risk factors for heart disease, they are also silent risk factors so many people could be living with high cholesterol or blood pressure and not know it,” said Prof. Kelly.

Heart disease kills 48 people a day in Australia, causing 57,000 heart attacks a year. This number is rising, too. While more successful treatments are saving lives, Prof. Kelly warns that Australians needed to do more to protect their heart health.

“Despite advances in treatment, research and prevention, heart disease still kills about 17,500 Australians each year – which equates to around 48 people every day.

“The Heart Age Calculator is helping to educate Australians about the risk factors for heart disease, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels, family history of heart disease, smoking and being overweight.

“It is encouraging that one million Australians have taken personal responsibility to learn more about their risk for heart disease, but this is only the first step.

“We recommend that everyone aged 45 – and 30 and over for Indigenous Australians – see their GP for a Heart Health Check. Your doctor will help you understand more about your risk factors and will work with you to improve your heart health and lower your risk.”

Do you know your heart age? Why not take the test and tell us?

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    Dave R
    10th Dec 2019
    I took the test. Am 70 with a heart age of 73.
    Dave R
    10th Dec 2019
    I took the test. Am 70 with a heart age of 73.
    10th Dec 2019
    In 1988 (aged 60) I had a severe heart attack and the hospital heart specialist warned my wife I would not see out the week! Now 91 and my heart tickin over at about 25% I have only my GP and (another) heart specialist to thank I am still alive with a retricted life style.
    So if you have that heart attack with care it may not be the end of it!
    10th Dec 2019
    Don't believe this test, I just did it and there were very little amount of questions, I could not answer what my blood pressure and cholesterol levels were, so it gave me a number that was 5 years older than I am. I was expecting younger. They don't even ask if you do exercise or what foods you eat. Just an advertising gimmick for the Heart Foundation to collect your money.
    Retiring Well
    10th Dec 2019
    I should have been dead years ago then.
    10th Dec 2019
    At 55 I did the calcium score test where you pay around $300 (not covered on Medicare). You go into one of those washing machine thingies and they scan your heart. I had zero calcium in my heart. Going to have another one. Best money spent. Dr Ross Walker well known cardiologist has recommenced this test for years for anyone over 55 years of age. Had a friend have one recently and they found three clots in her arteries and said she would definitely have had a heart attack. They can now treat her for it.
    12th Dec 2019
    Quite correct, hyperbole. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some drug companies behind this so-called tool (even the Heart Foundation is influenced by them) - especially ones who want to sell Statins (to treat high cholesterol) which are widely promoted, but as Dr. Ross Walker says, are less important than Calcium in the arteries. Statins have many adverse side effects for many people, including increased knee osteoarthritis which is usually ignored by many in the medical profession as well - too many in the pockets of these statin companies.
    11th Dec 2019
    This test is bullshit unless our age signifies we could have a heart attach as my Blood Pressure Cholestoral and BMI are all within normal ranges so how do they work it out. I don't smoke drink little walk every day nearly 10000 steps don't waste peoples time with rubbish

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