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New Tool Calculates True Heart Age

Update Date: Mar 26, 2014 11:13 AM EDT

In order to fully understand one's heart disease risk, doctors from the United Kingdom have developed a new risk calculation tool called the JBS3. The country's leading doctors state that this calculator informs patients of their "true" heart age and lifetime risk of heart attack and stroke, which would ideally prompt them to engage in preventive measures.

The JBS3 was designed to take into account a patient's family and lifestyle risk factors. These factors include health conditions, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, unhealthy habits, such as smoking, and family history of diseases. This new risk calculator could reduce the number of people who suffer from heart events. Before this calculator was developed, doctors tended to focus only on short-term risk so that they can help those who need it the most. Short-term risk is measured over the time span of 10 years. Doctors now believe that 10 years is too narrow.

Based on the numerous factors that doctors collect on each individual patient, the JBS3 test will provide a true heart age, an estimated amount of years the patient can expect to live before suffering from a heart event and the estimated amount of years the patients could get back if they started preventive measures.

An example provided by BBC News states that a 35-year-old woman who is a smoker with hypertension and high cholesterol would have a true heart age of 47. Her short-term risk of a heart attack or stroke is less than two percent, which is very low. She can expect to live till 71 without suffering from a heart event if her conditions stay the same. If she decides to start quit smoking, reduce her cholesterol and lower her blood pressure, her heart age would fall to 30 and she can expect to live to 85-years-old before suffering from a heart attack or stroke. Her short-term risk of a heart event would be even lower at 0.25 percent.

The JBS3 will be used by the National Health Service (NHS) Health Check Program in England. This program is centered on adults between the ages of 40 to 74. All doctors are recommended to use this tool as well to assess their patients' risk of heart events. The doctors hope that this calculator can encourage people to focus on improving their health without having to take medications.

The JBS3 was developed under the combined efforts of the Joint British Societies, which include the British Cardiovascular Society, the British Hypertension Society and nine more.

The report was published in Heart.

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