Healthy living adds 14 years to your life

November 5, 2012 by Erin White, Northwestern University

If you have optimal heart health in middle age, you may live up to 14 years longer, free of cardiovascular disease, than your peers who have two or more cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

The study was published Nov. 5 in the (JAMA).

"We found that many people develop cardiovascular disease as they live into old age, but those with optimal risk factor levels live disease-free longer," said John T. Wilkins, M.D., first author of the study. "We need to do everything we can to maintain optimal risk factors so that we reduce the chances of developing cardiovascular disease and increase the chances that we'll live longer and healthier."

Wilkins is an assistant professor in medicine, cardiology and at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

For the study, researchers pulled data from five different cohorts included in the Cardiovascular Pooling Project and looked at the participants' risk of all forms of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular disease from ages 45, 55 and 65 through 95 years of age.

All participants were free of CVD at entry into the study and data on the following risk factors was collected: blood pressure, total cholesterol, diabetes and smoking status. The primary outcome measure for the study was any CVD event (including fatal and nonfatal , all forms of stroke, , and other CVD deaths).

Key results from the study:

  • Individuals with optimal risk factor profiles lived up to 14 years longer free of total CVD than individuals with at least two risk factors.
  • Men in middle age had lifetime risks of approximately 60 percent for developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Women in middle age had lifetime risks of approximately 56 percent for developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Lifetime risks for cardiovascular disease were strongly associated with risk factor burden in middle age. 

Explore further: Lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular disease substantial

Related Stories

Lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular disease substantial

November 5, 2012
Even in men and women with an optimal cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor profile, the lifetime risk estimate for CVD is greater than 30 percent, and is more than 50 percent for men and women overall, according to a ...

Middle-age blood pressure changes affect lifetime heart disease, stroke risk

December 19, 2011
An increase or decrease in your blood pressure during middle age can significantly impact your lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to research in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Elevated risk factors linked to major cardiovascular disease events across a lifetime

January 26, 2012
In one of the largest-ever analyses of lifetime risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD), researchers have found that middle-aged adults who have one or more elevated traditional risk factors for CVD, such as high blood pressure, ...

Will you have a heart attack or stroke?

January 25, 2012
Will you have a heart attack or a stroke in your lifetime? Your odds may be worse than you think.

Middle-age risk factors drive greater lifetime risk for heart disease

January 25, 2012
A new study in today's New England Journal of Medicine reports that while an individual's risk of heart disease may be low in the next five or 10 years, the lifetime risk could still be very high, findings that could have ...

Cardiovascular disease risk of high normal blood pressure decreases in old age

April 20, 2012
High normal blood pressure becomes less of a risk factor for incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) with age, according to a new study presented today at the World Congress of Cardiology.

Recommended for you

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

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.