Americans value being young at heart, but most have hearts that are years older than their actual age, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The average American man's heart is eight years older than his chronological age, and the average U.S. woman's heart is five years older.

That helps explain why so many Americans die early from heart attacks, strokes and heart failure, and why millions are on heart medication. Heart disease and stroke kill more than 800,000 people a year and are the leading cause of death in the United States.

"Your heart may be older than you are," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters.
"In fact half of U.S. men and nearly half of U.S. women have a heart age that's five years older than their chronological age."

The CDC is pointing people to an online calculator they can use to calculate their own heart "age."
It may be easier to use the calculator than other devices that give a person's percentage risk of having a heart attack or stroke, the CDC said.

"It gives a stark, simple picture of your future risk of having or dying from a heart attack or a stroke," Frieden said.

"Take for example a 53-year-old woman who finds out that her heart age is 22 years older than her chronological age: 75. And that's because she smokes and has uncontrolled high blood pressure."

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