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What's your heart's age? It might depend on where you work
According to The Independent, a recent study found people's hearts are aging "faster than their owners," and certain occupations determine heart age also. - photo by Payton Davis
A recent study indicated the age listed on people's birth certificates might not matter as much as another figure: the age of people's hearts, which often increases "faster than their owners," according to The Independent.

Bupa, a health and care company, surveyed 8,000 consumers who had a heart age check a practice that calculates people's heart ages based on blood pressure, medical history of family and lifestyle risks. Among the findings was the observation that "occupation was reported to affect the average difference between physical age and heart age," The Independent reported.

According to Yahoo News, that's bad news for manual laborers.

"The average manual laborer's heart is 8.7 years older than it should be; a transport and logistics employee's heart is 7.2 years older; while those who work in property, construction or do charity work have a heart that is seven years older than the person," a Yahoo News article read.

Professionals in the medical industry (two years older), teachers (2.8) and banking (three) fared better. Yahoo News reported that Bupa released the findings to raise awareness for World Heart Day, which fell on Tuesday.

According to The Independent, industries that make health initiatives a priority "were found to have better heart health among their employees."

Because of that, employers should make it a priority to ensure their workers' heart ages don't skyrocket, World Heart Federation CEO John Ralston said, according to Workplace Savings and Benefits.

"The age on your birth certificate may say one thing, but your heart age could be saying something quite different," Ralston said. "We urge employers to put a focus on creating heart-healthy environments to help their employees bring down their heart age."

Among the solutions Ralston mentioned were making healthy food easier to access and creating smoke-free zones, according to WSB.

Realwire indicated Tuesday's World Heart Day 2015 proved significant because cardiovascular disease is the world's No. 1 killer: 17.3 million people die prematurely each year due to CVD, and that figure could increase to 23 million by 2030.

Heart issues particularly affect people who have little resources available.

"At least 80 percent of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries where human and financial resources are most limited to address them," according to Realwire. "Yet most premature deaths caused by CVD could be avoided by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, physical inactivity and raised blood pressure, all of which are strongly linked to a person's environment."

According to NPR, something as simple as text messaging goes a long way toward assisting heart patients.

A study published in the journal of the American Medical Association indicated "getting texts with motivating and informative messages led patients with coronary heart disease to make behavior changes like exercising more and smoking less," NPR's report read.

Over the study's course, half of the 700 patients involved received four text messages each week for six months in addition to usual care. The other half just underwent usual care, NPR reported.

Clara Chow, lead author of the study, told the news organization the texts accomplished things "medications usually do," making care for those battling heart issues accessible because a large portion of the population owns cell phones.

"I like to look for things that are able to be used in multiple corners of the world, from low-income settings to high-income settings," Chow said. "Everybody owns a mobile phone these days. You don't have to have a smartphone to text."
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