Can a 70-Year Old Have a Heart of 20? New Research Says It’s Possible

By Lisa Franchi on June 07, 2017

Age doesn’t matter. You can be as healthy as a 20-year old even if you’re already in your 70s. That’s the latest findings by a group of researchers at Boston University. They found that positive habits such as being physically active, eating well and not smoking increase the health of our blood vessels by up to 10 times. 

As we age, our arteries typically become stiffer, which increases our risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. But we can slow down this process, according to the new research. That’s by making healthy lifestyle choices. 

The study involved 3,196 adults aged 50 and over for more than nine years to determine how their risk of vascular ageing - reduced blood vessel elasticity - was influenced by the seven main risk factors for heart disease: blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, high blood sugar, inactivity, poor diet, obesity and smoking. 

At the start of the study, none of the participants had heart disease yet 391 people developed the condition during the trial. Some 207 cardiovascular events, such as a heart attacks, occurred. 

Those with healthy arteries were 55 per cent less likely to develop heart disease.   

The findings, published in the journal Hypertension, revealed that adults who avoid at least six of the seven problems are 10 times more likely to have flexible, healthy blood vessels than those that dodge just one or less. 

’Especially staying lean and avoiding diabetes seemed to be very important.’ said Teemu Niiranen, author of the study. 

’This association is thought to be mainly caused by the excess inflammation and neurohormonal imbalances associated with obesity and diabetes.’ 

This association is thought to be mainly caused by the excess inflammation and neurohormonal imbalances associated with obesity and diabetes.’ 

And while narrowing of the arteries is just one of the many risk factors for heart disease, experts aiming to maintain healthy arteries may help individuals maintain their wellbeing as they age. ‘Controlling risk factors can keep your arteries healthy and it is worth addressing the well-known risk factors.’ Dr Christian Delles of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow said. ’This includes lifestyle measure such as weight reduction, physical exercise and smoking cessation but in most cases also medication such as blood pressure-lowering drugs and lipid-lowering drugs.’ 

Source of this article: 

You CAN be as a healthy as a 20-year-old in your 70s: Staying active and eating well keeps arteries youthful and lowers the risk of heart disease by up to 55%

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