A Healthy Heart Can Last a Lifetime

Good heart health in middle age tied to longer, healthier life

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(RxWiki News) Having a healthy heart in middle age may mean you're set to have a long, healthy life, according to a new study.

Study participants who didn't have any major heart disease risk factors by the time they reached middle age were more likely than other participants to live and stay healthy for longer, the authors of this study found.

This study looked at nearly 26,000 participants and followed them over a 40-year period using Medicare health records. Compared to participants who had two or more heart disease risk factors by middle age, those who didn't have a chronic disease lived nearly four years longer on average, enjoyed 4.5 additional years before being diagnosed with a chronic disease and saved nearly $18,000 in Medicare costs.

Participants who had their 65th birthday before ever having a heart attack, stroke or congestive heart failure lived nearly seven years longer than other participants on average without developing heart disease, this study found.

The authors of this study noted that heart health is important at all life stages. Study author Dr. Norrina Allen, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said in a press release that, "...risk factors and their effects accumulate over time, so even if you have risks, it's never too late to reduce their impact on your later health by exercising, eating right and treating your high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes."

Talk to your health care professional about how to improve your heart health.

This study was published in the journal Circulation.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded this research. Information on potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.