Mississauga Life — Early Spring 2015
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How Old Is Your Heart?

Imagine knowing how healthy your heart is in only 20 minutes, and having the tools to manage your cardiovascular health on a daily basis.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the second leading cause of death in Canada and costs billions in healthcare dollars every year, but unlike most chronic diseases, CVD can be fixed and the symptoms can be reversed. CVD is responsible for nearly one of every three deaths per year, yet most Canadians won’t show any symptoms before their first heart attack.

As we get older, our blood vessels can become clogged and damaged, which restricts blood flow and can cause CVD. At the same time, blood vessels become less flexible, which increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

But you can take proactive measures to ensure a healthy and happy heart. That’s why Closing the Gap Healthcare and Everist Health of Ann Arbor, Michigan have partnered to roll out a pilot project—the first of its kind in Canada—to give you an early warning system for CVD. It’s called the AngioDefender.

The AngioDefender test is simple, non-invasive, painless and provides an instant report on the health of your cardiovascular system. It also identifies people who do not fit the classic picture of those likely to be at risk for heart disease, for example sports stars. However, no matter your age and fitness level, if you know the scale of your problem, there are things you can do to reverse the damage and lower the health risks.

Data from the AngioDefender test can be used to calculate your “heart age.” You could be 45 years old, for example, but have a heart age of 50 or 60 or even older. Retests from time to time can show the number of extra years you can expect as the result of lifestyle changes.

For a long time, health experts have preached the importance of regular exercise, a sensible diet and watching your weight, but until now it has often been difficult for individuals to understand the importance of these general guidelines. Recent research in Europe has shown that when a person knows their heart age, they are more likely to be motivated to take action to improve it. “The AngioDefender test takes 20 minutes, but it could enable you to add another 20 years to your life,” says Yianni Soumalias, director of business development at Closing the Gap Healthcare.