Middle-Age And Healthy? Live 14 Years Longer
November 6, 2012

Middle-Aged And Healthy? Live 14 Years Longer

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

It is generally understood that when you conform to a healthy lifestyle you are increasing your chances of living longer, and a new study has shown just that. For those who have optimal heart health in middle age, they generally have the benefit of increased longevity--up to 14 extra years of it.

The new study, conducted by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), finds that these middle-aged healthy individuals live much longer than their peers who have two or more cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.

Senior author on the study, John T. Wilkins, MD, an assistant professor at Feinberg and a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said: “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. 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 and his colleagues gleaned their data from five study cohorts included in the Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project. They focused on risks of fatal and nonfatal CVD from ages 45, 55 and 65 through 95 years of age.

All participants were CVD-free when the study began. Also, at study entry, Wilkins and his team collected data on risk factors including blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking status.

“The primary outcome 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),” according to a press release.

Among Wilkins' key findings were that men in their middle age had lifetime risks of approximately 60 percent for developing CVD; for middle-aged women, the lifetime risk was 56 percent.