Public Health England Heart Age: Hi, has anybody done... - NRAS


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Public Health England Heart Age


Hi, has anybody done the Public Health England Heart Age test online? The only health questions they ask about are whether you are a smoker, what your blood pressure is, what your cholesterol is, and finally....whether you have rheumatoid arthritis. I am 56, and even though cholesterol and blood pressure are fine, and I'm a good weight, and don't smoke, and don't have any history of heart disease in my family, I still have a heart aged 57 according to the test. If I take RA out of the equation, my heart age reduces to 52! Did anybody else know that RA can affect your heart so dramatically? I didn't!

35 Replies

Yes, I'm afraid so. RA does increase the risk of a heart attack, plus cancer, and can damage one's lungs, eyes and kidneys. Apart from that it is not too bad once well-controlled!

Yes my GP constantly telling me. I have never smoked, drink rarely, a good weight, but have high blood pressure due to medications over many years. Mine was 95 ! I'm in my early seventies. X

Yes, it's one of the first things I learnt about RA. And as Hawker says it has other nasty possibilities because it's a systemic disease so can attack your whole body. That side of the disease is far scarier to me than the joints as so completely invisible.

It's one of the reasons I'm a bit of a nut about exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight etc. If we've been shot in the foot once, then try to avoid shooting yourself in the other foot!

AgedCrone in reply to helixhelix

I agree with all you say HH, I come from a family who have all had some sort of heart disease, but they've nearly all made it well into their 70's.& so far all cardiac tests I have had say I'm OK.

However, apart from taking some exercise, eating sensibly & hoping....there's not much more we can do is there?

I reckon I'll go when I'm ready, so I refuse to worry about it unless I see a post like this I never think about it!

I did it and was fine I'm actually pleased as the ct I had the other week on the lungs which also looks at the heart was right. Problem is its such a banal test everyone knows being overweight and smoking and high colestrol can cause heart problems. lol x


Is it the actual disease or the drugs we take to control it that causes heart disease? I was aware, but thought it was the drugs.....

helixhelix in reply to Hidden

Nope, the disease. It's systemic, which means it can affect your whole system so organs as well as joints. Mind you, some of the drugs don't help!

Mistydawn in reply to Hidden

Jenny, I suspect it’s both the disease and the drugs...


Yes, I've always known my gran had RA after having rheumatic fever. She developed heart problems. Apparently my heart age is 85 - I'm 67. :-o

I think if one is over weight then it will be more of a concern. It can place additional stress on the heart and raise the blood pressure. If you take salt with everything then try low salt or lessen it a little as salt raises BP. I take it sometimes to lift my BP as it is very low and can make me dizzy. The drugs for RA concern me what they are doing to my body. It's a catch 22. Our bodies do react well to fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables and to exercise, sleep and less stress. If we incorporate all of this then I think ( hope) we will ALL be ok. X

I kinda think the test is a bit basic & misses a few things........I'm a non smoker,5'4",weigh 58kgs & according to their test I'm obese, have a heart age of 95 and could die at 87.......?

As I still have a few years to go, I think I'll carry on as is!

Having asked around - 95 seems to be the " IN" heart age attributed to everyone I asked to do the test...all in their 60/70's .... fat,thin & none with RD.

In fact I had an ECG this week prior to having an anaesthetic & my heart is fine.

keeta in reply to AgedCrone

Enjoy it while you have it i say .and don.t worry xx

Yes I did know, like it can also affect the lungs and blood too. Done both in my case so I was please as mine is actually lower than my real age. Only by a year though. There again might yet run over tomorrow. ! lol

I think needs to be taken with a large pinch of common sense.

I'm also aware. In fact I have a full cardiovascular check annually. Both my parents had heart disease, although only one died as a cause, the reason I'm aware & have ready up extensively the effects when also having RD.

It seems there are some concerns with the heart age check,

My GP uses a 10 year cardiovascular risk check called QRISK3. It's recently been updated to include more info to give the most accurate result. It's only useful if you don't have coronary heart disease though.

You may be recommended to also have a CV check if you're prescribed COX-2 NSAIDs, commonly known as coxibs, etoricoxib & celecoxib are two of the more commonly prescribed in the UK. If unsure, or your BP isn't well controlled & take a COX-2 it might be worth asking your GP for advice.

You've said before that your GP does an annual check up. I'm presuming this is more than just doing Qrisk3? An echocardiogram perhaps? And ultrasound? I didn't get a follow up this year from cardiologist (due I think to staff cuts at the hospital) so am thinking of asking GP.

ECG, cholesterol, BP etc. Not US as my Surgery doesn't have one but the last time I was at Urgent Care in hospital it was used. QRISK isn't done at CV check, that's part of NSAID review.

Mmm, yes thinking about it I haven't seen an US machine in the surgery. Shame as that's what I'm keen to have - I was told I should have valves looked at annually, but staff shortages mean it hasn't happened. The rest I do have.

Oo, I think if you've been advised your valves should be checked annually I'd push for it, an ECG or X-ray at least, but an echocardiogram is probably what you should have, a transthoracic echo. It's not a common part of a CV check, rather more specific, the next step after normal CV check, but there's obviously a reason it's been mentioned if you have common symptoms that could suggest valve disease especially.

Have been pushing, or rather gently leaning, but with staff shortages and people run off their feet on urgent cardiology work I'm reluctant to stomp my feet. It's an ultrasound that's recommended as that seems to show the valve stenosis best apparently. I'll see if GP has other ideas how to get it done.

Well, just think how appreciative you'd be if you were one of the patients they're run off their feet for, or not if you're checked & your symptoms can be managed by meds rather than an invasive op. Simplistic but I'd try pushing a little harder, you know preventative measures are better than letting something slip through for the sake of a using commonly used investigative machine. The difference is quite startling. At our hospital the slightest issue & you have everything thrown at you, cash strapped or not, busy or not. We are fortunate that the Cardio dept is a Centre of Exellence, only been open 10 years but they use it as it was intended to be used.

I'm 59 and mine came out at 71. I'm choosing to ignore it for the time being.

I'm 41 and my heart age was 47. Considering I smoked for 28 years and only quit 4 months ago, I'm really pleased!

Glyn612 in reply to AnneField

My friend took the test. She is 62, smokes 20 a day, and doesn't exercise (and doesn't have RA). Although her heart age was 72, she was only expected to live two years less than me!!! I think I'll take up smoking again ha ha!!

Accordingly to a report on BBC, nearly everyone comes out around 10 years older however young and healthy they are. Mine was 6 years older. I thought it would be about 20!

I think unless you know your BP and cholesterol it's not much use....

I did the test as well . Was surprised to see the RA question I freaked a bit as when you add the medication cocktail into the equation it's best not to think about it 😱

Oh well, I'll have to think of something else to say from now on.

No more :" You know, I'm still young at heart".

Thanks for all your replies. I agree we should take it with a pinch of salt and not worry too much. I think there might be quite a few people out there who take the test and do worry though. I think doctors' surgeries can expect a lot of people turning up concerned about their heart age. I'm glad I posted as I feel reassured that I'm not alone. Perhaps they should think about regular heart tests for people with RA although I guess that would be prohibitively expensive. Anyway, we will carry on and endure. Now that the weather is cooling down I'm beginning to feel the aches and pains more. I enjoyed the heat of this summer and felt better, but starting to feel unwell again. Here's to global warming (only joking!!). I need to move to Spain. Thanks again for all your support and stay warm. xx

When I took it it said my heart age was 55 and I could die at 77. I'm 49. I did the test again this time putting my blood pressure in and it reduced heart age to 42 but could still die at 77! I'm quite active don't smoke drink little and quite active in the week. Couch potato at weekends tho.

It would be interesting to put my mum's details in. She had high blood pressure all her life and on meds. Heart issues and quadruple heart bypass. Yes, she died suddenly from a heart 89. Im not sure this kind of test is helpful to people with depression or a tendency to worry.

My paternal grandmother had breast,colon & ovarian cancer back in the 1950's when oncology was in the dark ages.

She died peacefully in her sleepy at 97......having had a very happy & active life.

Its all a lottery. One of my closest friends died yesterday from bladder cancer. He was the fittest and healthiest person i know. He was just 58. It's heartbreaking.

Shalf in reply to HappykindaGal

So sorry to read this Cwendyn :( too young! - Very sad.

HappykindaGal in reply to Shalf

Thank you - it's awful

Yes I took it and was shocked. It gave me a Heart age of 44 and said I would live to be 76!!!!! Not much time left Then if I believe it. I am 72 now. ah ah ah.

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