Importance of heart health in middle age
A new 40 year study confirms previous research that those who have good cardiovascular health in middle age live longer and stay healthy for much longer than those who don't. The study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation looked at the impact of cardiovascular health in middle age on the duration of illness in later life.
Researchers used Medicare health records to follow the participants over a period of 40 years, taking into account, smoking, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes and other known risk factors. Comparing those who had 2 or more high risk factors in middle age among 17,939 individuals who reached 65 without a chronic illness it was found that they lived an average of 3.9 years longer and spent 22% fewer of their senior years without a chronic illness. Looking at heart disease the study found that in 18,714 individuals who reached 65 without having a heart attack, stroke or congestive heart failure, those with favourable risk factors lived 6.9 years longer without heart disease and spent 46.5% fewer of their later years with heart disease.