Eight factors that can lower your risk of all disease by nearly 80%

Nearly 1 million Americans die from cardiovascular disease each year, but following just a few key lifestyle habits could help cut down that number, a new study has found.

Researchers from the American Heart Association studying more than 5,600 people found those who ate a healthy diet, got between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, didn’t smoke, exercised and managed their blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight, reduced their risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 36 percent.

Additionally, people who had a family history of CVD reduced their risk of developing the condition and dying from heart and stroke by 39 percent. Their risk of dying from any cause was reduced by nearly 80 percent.

And Jiantao Ma, lead researcher and professor in the division of nutrition epidemiology from the AHA, said following these eight tips could cut your risk no matter your age or health history.

These are the eight factors that the American Heart Association recommends you keep in check to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease- which includes heart attack and stroke.

Professor Ma said: ‘Our study findings tell us that no matter what your actual age is, better heart-healthy behaviors and managing heart disease risk factors were associated with a younger biological age and a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, death from heart disease and stroke and death from any cause.’

The researchers looked at how heart-healthy lifestyle choices impacted the biological aging of the body and its cells, which contribute to a person’s overall health.

A multitude of factors impacts how the body ages, including genetics, diet, exercise and the environment. These things affect a person’s DNA, leaving ‘markers.’

Scientists can read these markers and use them as indicators for how likely you are to develop certain health conditions, such as cancer or heart disease.

In the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Associationthe researchers analyzed the DNA of 5,680 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, which began in 1948 and tracks individuals and their families to understand their risk for developing CVD.

The subjects had an average age of 56 years old.

Because the dataset goes back so far, the researchers had details about the participants’ family histories, which allowed them to know whether they were genetically predisposed to develop heart disease.

They then gave each participant a lifestyle score based on the AHA’s Life Essential 8 ranging from one to 100 – where 100 is best score someone could get, meaning they adhered perfectly to all eight guidelines.

First, a person’s diet was rated based on how well it fit the AHA’S Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension plan.

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The diet is heavy on vegetables and light on high-fat meats, sugary beverages and high-salt foods.

Next, the participants sleep quality was rated – needing to get between seven and nine hours of sleep to score well.

Researchers also scored a participant well if they exercised regularly and didn’t smoke.

They then rated participants based on physiological measures. People who scored high had a lower BMI, lower cholesterol and more stable blood sugar and blood pressure.

When looking at their lifestyle habits, their family history and their DNA changes, the researchers found people who had high lifestyle scores were 36 percent less likely than people with low lifestyle scores to die from cardiovascular disease.

People who were genetically predisposed to develop CVD reduced their all cause-mortality by 78 percent.

Results showed that people with high scores were also 39 percent less likely to develop heart disease in the first place.

In addition, they uncovered that people with healthier lifestyles had significantly younger biological ages than their actual chronological age, which suggests that leading a heart-healthy lifestyle helped them reverse their genetic clock, Professor Ma wrote.

He added: ‘Our message is that everyone should be mindful of the eight heart disease and stroke health factors.’

One limitation to the study that the researchers note is that they only measured a participant’s DNA at one point in their life.

Previous research has foundhowever, that people’s genetic markers can fluctuate widely over a short period of time, which means it may be hard to get an accurate reading from just one sample.

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