Posted on Dec 13, 2011, 6 a.m.
Attaining ideal cardiovascular health by a healthy lifestyle may help to stave off cancer.
As an American Heart Association Strategic 2020 Goal, “ideal" cardiovascular health is one of elements that aim to improve Americans' heart health by 20% and reduce deaths from heart disease and stroke by 20%. Laura J Rasmussen-Torvik, from Northwestern University (Illinois, USA), and colleagues followed more than 13,000 healthy individuals for 13 years, measuring seven "metrics" of heart health at the start and tracking any cancer that developed. Those seven factors are: not smoking, normal BMI (a calculation based on weight and height), physical activity, healthy diet, and safe cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose levels. Between 1987 and 2006, the participants developed more than 1,800 new cancers, namely prostate, breast, lung and colon. But, the more "ideal" factors people had, the less likely they were to develop cancer. Compared to people who had none of the seven factors, having just one reduced the risk of cancer by 20%. Three factors lowered the risk of cancer by 22%, and five to seven pushed the risk down 38%. The study authors conclude that: “Ideal cardiovascular health metrics are also collectively associated with lower cancer incidence.”
Laura J Rasmussen-Torvik, Christina M Shay, Judith Abramson, Jennifer A Nettleton, Christopher A Friedrich, Anna E Prizment, Aaron F Folsom. “The Association of AHA Ideal Cardiovascular Health with Cancer Incidence: The ARIC Study” [Abstract 13601]. Presented at American Heart Association Annual Meeting 2011, November 16, 2011.