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Website Helps You Find Your Heart's True Age

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Website Helps You Find Your Heart's True Age

To help combat New Zealand's single biggest killer, the Heart Foundation today launched a new online tool so people can understand the real risk of heart disease and avoid a premature and preventable death.

The Heart Age Forecast (found at www.knowyournumbers.co.nz) is the first of its kind and will calculate a person's current and future risk of heart disease or stroke, providing them with a tailored heart health plan to put them on a path to a healthier lifestyle.

A recent report showed 40 percent more New Zealanders die of heart attacks each year than in other developed nations.

Every 90 minutes a New Zealander dies from coronary heart disease, while 40 percent of deaths annually are attributed to cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke), making it the leading cause of death in New Zealand.

"These statistics are alarming and indicate an urgent need to address heart health in New Zealand," says Heart Foundation Medical Director, Professor Norman Sharpe.

"The frustrating thing for us is that so many of these deaths are preventable if people make some relatively minor lifestyle changes. Our hope with this tool is that it will shock at-risk people into making these changes."

The Heart Age Forecast, developed by the Heart Foundation and the University of Auckland, calculates a person's current and future heart risk using two of the most important numbers they'll ever need to know - blood pressure and cholesterol ratio. These numbers, in conjunction with a person's heart story - including age, ethnicity, smoking and family history - offer a striking insight into a person's health and the effect lifestyle choices are having on their body.

To help people take control of their own health, the website provides people with a six week, individually tailored heart plan. The weekly plan includes tips and information to help people remove harmful lifestyle choices and start making some new, healthier ones.

Norman Sharpe adds, "People don't have to know their blood pressure or cholesterol levels to use it. However, a more accurate assessment is given if people know these numbers, and therefore it prompts those who don't to visit their GP to find out what they are."

"Our hope is that once people better understand some of the key factors involved in their heart health, they will be motivated to take better care of their heart and ultimately reduce their risk of becoming another heart death statistic."

Former Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley, strongly supports the 'Know you Numbers' initiative saying there seems to be little knowledge of just how prolific a killer heart disease is.

Like many thousands of women around New Zealand, Jenny Shipley's life has been directly affected by heart disease. Her father died from heart disease at the age of 52, and she herself suffered a heart attack in 2000, which she was fortunate to fully recover from.

"The experience was an enormous wake-up call and reminded me again that it was my responsibility to try and mitigate the risks and make the necessary changes to maintain a healthy heart," she says.

The 'Know Your Numbers' website was officially launched today at the Heart Foundation's Go Red for Women breakfasts.

To discover your heart's age, visit www.knowyournumbers.org.nz.

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