Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle to grow old healthy
People with no major heart disease risk factors in middle age live a longer and a healthier life free of all types of morbidity, according to a 40-Year Follow-Up of the CHA Study (Chicago Heart Association Detection Project in Industry) reported in the journal Circulation.
The study included both men and women aged 18 to 74 years, who were classified into 1 of 4 strata of cardiovascular health: favorable levels of all factors, 0 factors high but =1 elevated risk factors, 1 high risk factor and =2 high risk factors, which included blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, body mass index and smoking.
Only 6% had favorable levels of all factors, while 35% had =2 high risk factors, 19% had =1 risk factors at elevated levels and 40% had 1 high risk factor.
Comparing to the study participants who had =2 high-risk factors in middle age, those with all favorable factors lived an average of 3.9 years longer, survived 4.5 years longer before developing a chronic illness, spent 22% fewer of their senior years with a chronic illness and saved almost $18,000 in Medicare costs.