Healthy heart can add 14 years to your life: study

Healthy heart

People with optimal heart health in middle age may live up to 14 years longer, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Northwestern University found that keeping cardiovascular disease risk factors low may lead to healthier life.

The study found that those who had a healthy heart lived 14 years longer, free of cardiovascular disease than their peers who had two or more cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.

"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, 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 said in a statement.

Researchers pulled data from five different cohorts included in the Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk 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 coronary heart disease, all forms of stroke, congestive heart failure, and other CVD deaths).

The study found that men in middle age had lifetime risks of approximately 60 per cent for developing cardiovascular disease while for middle age women the risk was approximately 56 per cent.

Lifetime risks for cardiovascular disease were strongly associated with risk factor burden in middle age, the study found.

The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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