It is never too late to start giving your heart a helping hand and consciously removing the risk factors that lead to disease. Researchers recently took a group of people at a particular age, 50, and proved that if these adults cut the number of cardiovascular risk factors they faced, then it would have a dramatic effect on how long they would live for.
Published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, the findings are based on a lengthy study that was conducted here in the U.S. Researchers examined one of the most important health matters around — that would be heart disease, which remains the number one killer in the world — and the steps to figure out how best to evade it. We already know the risk factors quite well, so it’s really a matter of reducing them in your life.
Researchers found that adults 50 years of age are unlikely to suffer heart disease or a stroke in their lifetime if their blood pressure is under control, if they don’t smoke, if they are free of diabetes, if they are not overweight, and if their cholesterol levels are normal.
People who have multiple risk factors for heart disease will live, on average, 10 fewer years than people who are looking after their heart. The new study focused on atherosclerosis, which is a disease characterized by hardened arteries — an all too common cause of heart malfunctions. They found the following statistics:
— For those who had no risk factors at age 50: Five percent of men and eight percent of women developed atherosclerosis by age 95.
— For those with two or more factors at age 50: 69% of men and 50% of women developed blocked arteries within four decades.
Researchers call the five and eight percent figures “incredibly low.” It is something, though, that each of us can work toward achieving. It’s certain that not many people are these days, as in the study only three percent of men and four percent of women actually had optimal risk factors. The vast majority had at least something that threatened their heart, be it high cholesterol or being overweight.
According to the researchers, preventing risk factors is not easy but it is achievable. Try and confront the risk factors as early as possible by focusing on healthy eating and healthy living.
This, of course, means avoiding the pull of nicotine — and it means getting your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly. For those of you who have these risk factors, don’t despair — it is never too late to work on reducing them. It’s about the only thing you can do to help out your heart health.