One in 10 men aged 50 in England has a heart that is 10 years older than their actual age, a shock report from Public Health England (PHE) revealed Monday.
New analysis from PHE's Heart Age Test shows many have a heightened risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke.
PHE says a Heart Age Test is the only known way of measuring heart age showing how many years a person can expect to live healthily without a heart attack or stroke. The message is the higher the heart age, the higher our risk.
Analysis of 1.2 million test results shows the majority of people (64 percent) with a heart 10 years older than their actual age are male.
Every month, 7,400 people die from heart disease or stroke, says PHE, adding: "A quarter of deaths are of people under 75 and most of these can be prevented."
A PHE campaign throughout September is leading the way to encourage people to be as familiar with their heart age as they are with their weight or height.
Associate Professor Jamie Waterall, Lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, PHE, said: "We should all aim for our heart age to be the same as our real age. Addressing our risk of heart disease and stroke should not be left until we are older. The Heart Age Test is really important as it gives an immediate idea of heart attack and stroke risk, with no doctor's appointment needed."
Dr. Mike Knapton, medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: "It's extremely worrying that so many people don't know their blood pressure or cholesterol levels, as these silent conditions can lead to a deadly heart attack or stroke if untreated."
To help people find out their risk and get an immediate idea of their heart health, PHE is encouraging adults to take an on-line three minute Heart Age Test.
For the first time the test will direct users to their nearest blood pressure station as those people are more at risk of heart disease or stroke.