July 7, 2008 -- Living longer, with a healthier heart, boils down to a few
steps, and if everyone got on the bandwagon, it could prevent more than 27
million heart attacks and about 10 million strokes over the next 30 years.
That news comes from a study backed by the American Heart Association,
American Diabetes Association, and American Cancer Society.
If you're like 78% of U.S. adults aged 20-80, you fall short of at least one
of those goals.
If everyone who's got room for improvement made those improvements and met
all of the benchmarks, they would live 1.3 years longer, on average, cutting
heart attacks by 63% and
stroke by 31% over the next 30 years, the researchers estimate.
But let's say everyone makes some progress but doesn't quite meet all of the
goals. That would still make a real dent in cardiovascular disease, the No. 1
killer of U.S. men and women, according to the study.
The study, published in the advance online edition of Circulation, is
based on national health studies conducted from 1998 to 2004.
Are medications the answer?
If everyone relied on prescription drugs, it
could be a hefty tab. But lifestyle changes -- such as a healthier diet and a
more active lifestyle -- are a big part of
heart health. The researchers didn't crunch the numbers to see how many
people could meet most of the goals through lifestyle change alone.