If you have optimal heart health in middle age, you may live up to 14 years longer, free of cardiovascular disease, than your peers who have two or more cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.
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).
Key results from the study:
* Individuals with optimal risk factor profiles lived up to 14 years longer free of total CVD than individuals with at least two risk factors.
* Men in middle age had lifetime risks of approximately 60 percent for developing cardiovascular disease.
* Women in middle age had lifetime risks of approximately 56 percent for developing cardiovascular disease.
* Lifetime risks for cardiovascular disease were strongly associated with risk factor burden in middle age.