How to avoid heart disease and cancer at the same time

November 18, 2011 By Marla Paul

(Medical Xpress) -- Consider it the ultimate health twofer. A new Northwestern Medicine study shows the behaviors and risk factors that reduce the incidence of heart disease also substantially lower the risk of lung, breast, prostate and colon cancers by up to nearly 40 percent.

This is the first study to examine the effect of seven key healthy cardiovascular behaviors and on . Those seven measures include a , plenty of , no smoking, healthy body weight and blood pressure and ideal levels of cholesterol and blood sugar. Having just one of them lowered the risk of cancer by 20 percent; and having five to seven of them cut the risk by almost 40 percent.

It’s known that some of these individual factors protect against cancer, but no one had ever looked at the cumulative effect of all seven, known as the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Life’s Simple 7.

The research was presented Nov. 16 at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2011 in Orlando.

“It’s a big bonus that a healthy lifestyle not only protects you from cardiovascular disease but also helps you avoid cancer,” said lead investigator Laura Rasmussen-Torvik, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “That awareness should provide extra motivation for people to adopt these behaviors. Even if we remove smoking from our score, we still see the overall beneficial effect.”

For the study, researchers looked at data from 13,360 participants from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, a community-based cohort.

Related Stories

Regular checkups help ensure good health for men

June 20, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Men, listen up: This is for you. What will it take to get you interested in your health? If you reply, “but I am interested,” then you probably are already getting a regular checkup. But the ...

Poor public awareness of bowel cancer

August 23, 2011

Britons have very low awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer – the third most common cancer in the UK and second largest cause of cancer deaths each year, new research shows.

Study affirms 'mediterranean diet' improves heart health

November 17, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- A team of Johns Hopkins researchers has uncovered further evidence of the benefits of a balanced diet that replaces white bread and pasta carbohydrates with unsaturated fat from avocados, olive oil and ...

Recommended for you

Heart attack treatment hypothesis 'busted'

July 6, 2015

Researchers have long had reason to hope that blocking the flow of calcium into the mitochondria of heart and brain cells could be one way to prevent damage caused by heart attacks and strokes. But in a study of mice engineered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.