How old am I? Well, that’s a personal question. Instead, I’ll tell my heart age. And I’ll let you in on how you can find out how old your heart is too.
I had no idea what to expect before getting my heart age assessed by the AngioDefender… Especially since I was told not to exercise, have coffee or tea (no caffeine, actually), smoke (I don’t), do drugs (recreational or otherwise), and to avoid any and all stress (mkay) eight hours before the test. It sounded pretty intense. And I figured it was along the lines of a heart scan, but I was relieved to find out that it’s pretty much a blood pressure test – but, it takes about 20 minutes.
My arm was wrapped with an inflatable cuff, and then my blood pressure was taken. Next, the same apparatus was used to test my “Flow-Mediated Dilation.” That’s lab-coat talk for seeing how hard the heart works to pump blood. Just like how blood pressure is tested, the cuff inflates, except this time it expands to the point where your arm falls asleep. Tingles and all. Then it monitors blood coming back into the arm. It doesn’t hurt, and frankly I was more distracted by answering medical questions about how often I work out, what my diet is like, etc.
Before I knew it, I got a printout saying that my heart is three years younger than I am. All those questions from the nurse were taken into consideration for calculating how old my ticker is too. And the experts behind the machine say that it’s a great tool for those may have hereditary heart issues and those who are concerned about their risk for heart disease.
Here are the ways I’m keeping my heart young (say the health experts):
I try to eat as healthy as I can with lots of plant-based foods, and I see meat as an occasional treat in my diet. I have a sweet tooth, though. And chocolate – in moderation, I have to remind myself – is good for the heart, suggests some research.
I take krill oil daily. It’s good for skin and hair, as well as my heart. Other heart-healthy supplements include other fish oils, fibre, CoQ10 and plant sterols.
I work out. And in addition to strength training and Pilates, I also do cardio. I just did the Energia Spin-A-Thon in support of The Peer Project. So my heart thanked me for that, too.