Posted on Aug 01, 2014, 6 a.m.
Following 5 anti-aging habits in your 30s may help to lower heart disease risks later in life.
Northwestern University (Illinois, USA) researchers report that when adults in their 30s and 40s decide to quit unhealthy habits that are harmful to their heart and embrace healthy lifestyle changes, they can control and potentially even reverse the natural progression of coronary artery disease. Bonnie Spring and colleagues examined healthy lifestyle behaviors and coronary artery calcification and thickening among the more than 5,000 participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study who were assessed at baseline (when participants were ages 18 to 30) and 20 years later. The healthy lifestyle factors assessed were: not being overweight/obese, being a nonsmoker, being physically active, and having low alcohol intake and a healthy diet. By young adulthood (at the beginning of the study), less than 10% of the CARDIA participants reported all five healthy lifestyle behaviors. At the 20-year mark, about 25% of the study participants had added at least one healthy lifestyle behavior. The team found that each increase in healthy lifestyle factors was associated with reduced odds of detectable coronary artery calcification and lower intima-media thickness -- two major markers of cardiovascular disease that can predict future cardiovascular events. Conversely, the team observed that 40% of the study group lost healthy lifestyle factors and acquired more bad habits as they aged, leading to measurable, detrimental impact on their coronary arteries. The study authors conclude that: “Healthy lifestyle changes during young adulthood are associated with decreased risk and unhealthy lifestyle changes are associated with increased risk for subclinical atherosclerosis in middle age.”
Bonnie Spring, Arlen C. Moller, Laura A. Colangelo, Juned Siddique, Megan Roehrig, Martha L. Daviglus, et al. “Healthy Lifestyle Change and Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Young Adults: Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study.” Circulation. 2014;130:10-17.