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Women who have fewer cardiovascular risk factors early in life live longer
The study included participants in the Chicago Heart Association Detection Project in Industry which screened 39,522 men and women from 1967 to 1973 and ascertained deaths through 2001. The current study examined 7,302 female subjects who were between the ages of 18 to 39 and did not have coronary heart disease or electrocardiographic abnormalities upon enrollment. Twenty percent of the women were classified as being at low risk for coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease, defined as having a favorable systolic and diastolic blood pressure and not taking blood pressure medications, having a serum cholesterol lower than 200 milligrams per deciliter and not being on cholesterol drugs, having a body mass index of less than 25, being a nondiabetic, and not smoking.
During the 31 year follow-up period, there were 469 deaths, with 47 from coronary heart disease and 94 caused by cardiovascular diseases. Women who had favorable levels of all five risk factors experienced much lower mortality from all causes compared to other women, and a rare incidence of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Those in the low risk category had less than 20 percent of the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality than those with more than two high risk factors, and their risk of all-cause mortality during the follow-up period was less than half.
The results of the study emphasize the benefit of adopting early measures to extend the length and quality of life. The authors write: "Our findings show that for young women, a low cardiovascular risk profile is associated with lower long-term CHD, CVD, and all-cause mortality--results in concert with previous findings on young men and middle-aged men and women. They demonstrate that among persons at low risk earlier in life, CHD and CVD cease to occur at epidemic rates. These data underscore the importance of a national public priority emphasizing prevention and control of all major CVD risk factors by lifestyle approaches from conception, weaning, childhood, and youth on to increase proportions of the population at low CVD risk."
Cardiovascular disease: Comprehensive analysis
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