6 Steps to Longer Life, Healthy Heart

These Strategies Could Prevent More Than 27 Million Heart Attacks, Experts Estimate

From the WebMD Archives

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.

Here are those steps:

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.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC on July 07, 2008

Sources

SOURCES:

Kahn, R. Circulation, July 7, 2008; advance online edition.

News release, American Heart Association.

© 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.