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In conjunction with American Heart Month, CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs has launched a free, online heart health assessment tool so that individuals can easily assess their own heart age and access a detailed report outlining their heart health risks.

Determining heart age is an important first step to increasing awareness and improving one's health, CHI St. Vincent said in a news release announcing the assessment tool.

Dr. Srinivas Vengala, interventional cardiologist with the CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute in Hot Springs, told The Sentinel-Record that the prevalence of heart disease is higher in Arkansas compared to the rest of the nation.

"Among those age 65 and above, it is about 14 percent in Arkansas compared to 11 percent in the nation," Vengala said. "In the past five years, cardiovascular deaths increased by 6 percent from 311 to 330 per 100,000 people."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three out of four U.S. adults have a predicted heart age that is older than their actual age, indicating they are at a higher risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Vengala said the new heart health assessment tool will help people understand their risk for heart disease and hopefully motivate them to take relevant action.

"Simple steps like regular physical checkups by primary care physicians, staying active, maintaining an ideal weight and quitting smoking can decrease the chance of developing heart disease," he said, as the most common preventable causes for developing heart disease are obesity, smoking, physical inactivity and dietary habits.

"In Arkansas, 35 percent of adults are obese, 22 percent smoke and 32 percent are not physically active," he said.

Vengala said the most common symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain, heartburn, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea and dizziness. He said sometimes women may present different symptoms, such as jaw pain, shoulder or upper back pain.

Common signs of a stroke, he said, are numbness or weakness of arms or legs, trouble walking, vision changes and confusion.

"It is important that when one notices any of these symptoms, they seek medical attention immediately," he said.

The new tool allows individuals to assess their risk for cardiovascular disease through a series of questions related to health and family history. According to the release, the assessment takes about five minutes and then provides a detailed report outlining general risks for heart disease. The report also explains what individuals should do to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease and creates an online or printed version they can share with their physician.

"Since heart disease is the number one killer, it is vital to learn about one's heart health status," Vengala said. "A good understanding of the reasons or causes of heart problems will help people take the initiative to modify them. Simple steps like increasing physical activity with a brisk walk for 30-45 minutes a day can reduce the incidence of heart disease significantly."

To complete the heart health assessment, visit

Local on 02/05/2019

Print Headline: CHI St. Vincent launches online heart health tool

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