Want to cut your risk of death from heart disease in half? Simply follow seven key heart-healthy habits, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study suggests.
CDC researchers who tracked the health of nearly 45,000 adults found those who met at least six of seven guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association cut their risk of mortality by at least 51 percent.
The AHA’s seven heart-healthy habits:
• Don’t smoke.
• Maintain safe blood cholesterol levels.
• Eat a healthy diet.
• Avoid having high blood pressure.
• Be physically active.
• Keep blood sugar (glucose) under control.
• Sustain a healthy weight for your height.
"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of deaths in the United States [greater than 800,000, or about 1 in 3 overall deaths/year], with estimated annual direct and overall costs of $273 billion and $444 billion, respectively,” researchers noted.
For the study, CDC researcher Quanhe Yang and colleagues tracked the records of 44,959 U.S. adults (age 20 years or older) whose health has been monitored by CDC since 1988.
The researchers found that few participants met all seven heart-healthy habits. But those who followed the largest number of health recommendations had the lowest risks of heart disease deaths. Those who met six of the habits, for instance, had virtually half the risk of death of those who met only one of the seven.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and presented at a recent specialty AHA meeting.