Heart-healthy lifestyle linked to longer life free of chronic health conditions

Summary: Adults who lead a heart-healthy lifestyle tend to live longer and healthier lives than those who do not lead a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Source: American Heart Association

Two new studies from related research groups have found that adults who lead a heart-healthy lifestyle, as measured by the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 (LE8) cardiovascular health score, tend to to live longer without chronic disease.

Preliminary studies for lifestyle and cardiometabolic health.

In June 2022, the American Heart Association updated the Optimal Cardiovascular Health Metrics to include Sleep – Life’s Essential 8. The tool measures 4 indicators related to cardiovascular and metabolic health status (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index); and 4 behavioral/lifestyle factors (smoking status, physical activity, sleep and diet).

“These two summaries really give us new insight into how we can understand at different stages of the life course how important it will be to focus on your cardiovascular health, especially using the new Essential 8 metrics from the American Heart Association Life,” said Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD, Sc.M., FAHA. Lloyd-Jones led the advisory writing group for Life’s Essential 8 and is Past President of the American Heart Association Chairman and Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Eileen M. Foell Professor of Cardiac Research, and Professor of Preventive Medicine, Medicine and Pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.

“The concept of cardiovascular health studied in these two summaries really reflects what patients are trying to do, which is to find the fountain of youth. Yes, live longer, but more importantly, live healthier longer and extend that lifespan so you can truly enjoy quality in your remaining years of life.

8 Life Essentials and Life Expectancy Free of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Cancer and Dementia in Adults (Abstract 524)

The first study investigated whether levels of cardiovascular health estimated by the Association’s Life’s Essential 8 measures were associated with life expectancy free of major chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and dementia.

“Our study examined the association between Life’s Essential 8 and major chronic disease-free life expectancy in adults in the UK,” said lead author Xuan Wang, MD, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow and biostatistician in the department of epidemiology. at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Wang and colleagues analyzed health information from 136,599 adults in the UK who did not have cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer or dementia when they enrolled in the study and as measured by Life’s Essential 8 tool.

“We’ve ranked Life’s Essential 8 scores based on recommendations from the American Heart Association, with scores below 50 out of 100 indicating poor cardiovascular health, 50 to below 80 being intermediate, and 80 and above being ideal,” said Wang. Life’s Essential 8 scores of 80 and above are defined as “high cardiovascular health” by the Association.

When the researchers compared life expectancy and disease-free years between the groups, they found:

  • Adults classified as having ideal cardiovascular health lived significantly longer than those classified in the poor heart health category. Men and women with ideal cardiovascular health at age 50 had on average 5.2 years and 6.3 years longer total life expectancy, respectively, compared to men and women who had poor cardiovascular health.
  • Adults with ideal cardiovascular health scores lived longer without chronic disease. Disease-free life expectancy accounted for nearly 76% of total life expectancy for men and over 83% for women who had ideal cardiovascular health – in contrast, disease-free life expectancy was than 64.9% for men and 69.4% for women with poor cardiovascular health. cardiovascular health.

“Additionally, we found that disparities in disease-free life expectancy due to low socioeconomic status can be significantly offset by maintaining an ideal cardiovascular health score in all adults,” Wang said.

“Our findings may stimulate interest in individual self-report and motivate people to improve their cardiovascular health. These findings support improved population health by promoting adherence to ideal cardiovascular health, which can also reduce health disparities related to socioeconomic status.

The limitations of the study were that the researchers only included cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and dementia in their definition of “disease-free life expectancy”; information on electronic cigarettes was not available in the UK Biobank, which may lead to a slight overestimation of the LE8 score in this study; and participants in the UK

The biobanks are predominantly Caucasian, therefore, further studies are needed to confirm whether these findings are consistent among people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds who may experience negative social determinants of health across the lifespan.

“What’s really important is that people who maintain good cardiovascular health well into their 40s avoid these chronic diseases of aging, things like cancer and dementia that we’re concerned about as well, not just cardiovascular disease.” , said Lloyd-Jones.

This shows a drawing of a heart and a brain
Two studies found that adults who lead heart-healthy lifestyles — and who score higher when measured by the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 cardiovascular health score — tend to live longer and in optimal health compared to those with low cardiovascular health scores. Image is in public domain

“They’re delayed until much later in life, so people can enjoy living their years as well as the years of their lives.”

Co-authors with Wang are Hao Ma, MD, Ph.D.; Xiang Li, MD, Ph.D.; Yoriko Heianza, RD, Ph.D.; JoAnn E. Manson, MD, MPH, Dr. PH.; Oscar H. Franco, MD, Ph.D.; and Lu Qi, MD, Ph.D. Author disclosures are listed in the abstract.

Funding: The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which are divisions of the National Institutes of Health; the Fogarty International Center; and the Tulane Centers of Research Excellence Awards.

The 8 Essentials of Life and Life Expectancy Among Adults in the United States (Abstract 473)

The second study sought to determine whether the association of Life’s Essential 8 with total life expectancy differed by gender or race in US adults.

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Researchers analyzed health information, including Life’s Essential 8 scores, for more than 23,000 American adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) from 2005 to 2018.

The analysis found:

  • Adult life expectancy at age 50 averaged an additional 33.4 years for those with ideal cardiovascular health, or scores of 80 or greater; in comparison, the additional life expectancy was 25.3 years for adults with poor cardiovascular health, LE8 scores below 50.
  • Adults with ideal cardiovascular health gained an estimated 8.1 years (7.5 additional years for men and 8.9 for women) in life expectancy at age 50, compared to those with poor cardiovascular health .

“We found that more than 40% of the increase in life expectancy at age 50 due to meeting ideal cardiovascular health can be explained by the reduced incidence of death from cardiovascular disease,” said said lead author Hao Ma, MD, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher. researcher and biostatistician in epidemiology at Tulane University and co-author of Wang’s study.

According to Ma, this indicates that maintaining one’s cardiovascular health can improve one’s lifespan. However, more research needs to be done on the impact of cardiovascular health on the lifespan of people from various racial and ethnic groups, he said.

The study had several limitations, such as the researchers did not take into account potential changes in cardiovascular health during follow-up, as information on cardiovascular health parameters was only available at baseline. Additionally, the researchers’ analyzes of different racial/ethnic groups only included non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and people of Mexican descent due to limited sample sizes for racial/ethnic groups. additional.

“What particularly struck me about this summary is that there is a very big jump between people who have poor cardiovascular health and intermediate levels of cardiovascular health,” Lloyd-Jones said.

“Overall, we see that seven-and-a-half-year difference moving from poor cardiovascular health to good cardiovascular health. That’s a very big difference in life expectancy, and I think what that tells us is that we have to try to move people around and get them to improve their cardiovascular health in mid-life, because that is really going to have a major influence on their total life expectancy.”

Co-authors with Ma are Xuan Wang, MD, Ph.D.; Qiaochu Xue, MPH; Xiang Li, MD, Ph.D.; Zhaoxia Liang, MD, Ph.D.; Yoriko Heianza, RD, Ph.D.; Oscar H. Franco, MD, Ph.D.; and Lu Qi, MD, Ph.D. Author disclosures are listed in the abstract.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which are divisions of the National Institutes of Health; awards from Fogarty International Center and Tulane Centers of Research Excellence.

About this heart health research news story

Author: Jean Arnst
Source: American Heart Association
Contact: John Arnst – American Heart Association
Picture: Image is in public domain

Original research: Findings will be presented at AHA Scientific Sessions in Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle, and Cardiometabolic Health 2023

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