Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Four lifestyle changes will protect your heart and significantly reduce your risk of death

Date:
June 3, 2013
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Summary:
A large, multi-center study has found a significant link between lifestyle factors and heart health, adding even more evidence in support of regular exercise, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, keeping a normal weight and, most importantly, not smoking.

A large, multi-center study led by Johns Hopkins researchers has found a significant link between lifestyle factors and heart health, adding even more evidence in support of regular exercise, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, keeping a normal weight and, most importantly, not smoking.

The researchers found that adopting those four lifestyle behaviors protected against coronary heart disease as well as the early buildup of calcium deposits in heart arteries, and reduced the chance of death from all causes by 80 percent over an eight-year period. Results of the study, "Low-Risk Lifestyle, Coronary Calcium, Cardiovascular Events, and Mortality: Results from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis," are described in an online article ahead of print by the American Journal of Epidemiology.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to find a protective association between low-risk lifestyle factors and early signs of vascular disease, coronary heart disease and death, in a single longitudinal evaluation," says Haitham Ahmed, M.D., M.P.H., the lead author who is an internal medicine resident with the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins.

"We evaluated data on more than 6,200 men and women, age 44-84, from white, African-American, Hispanic and Chinese backgrounds. All were followed for an average of 7.6 years. Those who adopted all four healthy behaviors had an 80 percent lower death rate over that time period compared to participants with none of the healthy behaviors," says Ahmed.

Study participants all took part in the ongoing Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a prospective examination of the risk factors, prevalence and prevention of cardiovascular disease. MESA participants were recruited from six academic medical centers and did not have a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease when they were enrolled.

All participants had coronary calcium screening using computed tomography (a CT scan) when they were first enrolled in the study to see if there were early signs of calcium deposits in their heart arteries that are known to contribute to heart attack risk. As the study progressed, the researchers also assessed whether the participants had a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, chest pain, angioplasty or died due to coronary heart disease or other causes.

The researchers developed a lifestyle score for each of the participants, ranging from 0 (least healthy) to 4 (healthiest), based on their diet, body mass index (BMI), amount of regular moderate-intensity physical activity and smoking status. Only 2 percent, or 129 participants, satisfied all four healthy lifestyle criteria.

"Of all the lifestyle factors, we found that smoking avoidance played the largest role in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and mortality," says Roger Blumenthal, M.D., a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, director of the Ciccarone Center and senior author of the study. "In fact, smokers who adopted two or more of the healthy behaviors still had lower survival rates after 7.6 years than did nonsmokers who were sedentary and obese."

Blumenthal, who is also the president of the American Heart Association's Maryland affiliate, says the findings "bolster recent recommendations by the American Heart Association, which call for maintaining a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and fish, keeping a BMI of less than 25, being physically active and not smoking."

The researchers emphasize that their study shows the importance of healthy lifestyle habits not just for reducing the risk of heart disease, but also for preventing mortality from all causes.

"While there are risk factors that people can't control, such as their family history and age," says Ahmed, "these lifestyle measures are things that people can change and consequently make a big difference in their health. That's why we think this is so important."

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health (grant R01-HL071739 and contracts N01-HC-95159 through N01- 485 HC-95165 and N01-HC-95169).

The other co-investigators were: Michael J. Blaha, Khurram Nasir, Steven R. Jones, Pamela Ouyang and Juan J. Rivera from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Arthur Agatston from South Beach Preventive Cardiology in Miami; Ron Blankstein from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston; Nathan D. Wong from the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine; Susan Lakoski from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington; Matthew J. Budoff from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles; Gregory L. Burke from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Christopher T. Sibley from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ahmed, H. M., Blaha, M. J., Nasir, K., Jones, S. R., Rivera, J. J., Agatston, A., Blankstein, R., Wong, N. D., Lakoski, S., Budoff, M. J., Burke, G. L., Sibley, C. T., Ouyang, P., Blumenthal, R. S. Low-Risk Lifestyle, Coronary Calcium, Cardiovascular Events, and Mortality: Results From MESA. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2013; DOI: 10.1093/aje/kws453

Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Four lifestyle changes will protect your heart and significantly reduce your risk of death." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603090552.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2013, June 3). Four lifestyle changes will protect your heart and significantly reduce your risk of death. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603090552.htm
Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Four lifestyle changes will protect your heart and significantly reduce your risk of death." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603090552.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins