Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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With serious health problems lurking around every corner, the path to longevity is winding and offers no guarantees. However, research continues to suggest that certain lifestyle practices can add years to your lifespan. Now, a new study identifies eight simple habits that could hold keys to the “fountain of youth”.
From superfoods that can reduce cancer risk to anti-inflammatory drinks that stave off heart disease, single dietary interventions have a lot to offer when it comes to longevity chase.
However, new research suggests that stacking up healthy habits could be the ultimate secret to a longer life.
Dubbed “Life’s Essential 8” (LE8), these easy tips include a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, good sleep and no cigarettes.
The other four pillars focus on keeping your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels in check.
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The findings are based on studies of Britons and Americans who were tracked for decades.
Lead author Dr Xuan Wang, of Tulane University, New Orleans, said: “Our study looked at the association of Life’s Essential 8 and life expectancy free of major chronic disease in adults in the United Kingdom.”
His team analysed 136,599 participants whose health data was logged in the UK Biobank.
Dr Wang said: “We categorised Life’s Essential 8 scores according to the American Heart Association’s recommendations, with scores of less than 50 out of 100 being poor cardiovascular health, 50 to less than 80 being intermediate and 80 and above being ideal.”
Scores of 80 and above are defined as “high cardiovascular health” by the Association, with individuals who reached this goal living substantially longer.
Men and women, who scored high at age 50, had an average 5.2 years and 6.3 years more of total life expectancy, respectively, compared to their peers in the “poor” category.
What’s more, these individuals managed to live longer without chronic disease, threatening their good health and quality of life.
Dr Wang said: “Moreover, we found disparities in disease-free life expectancy due to low socioeconomic status may be offset considerably by maintaining an ideal cardiovascular health score in all adults.
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“Our findings may stimulate interest in individual self-assessment and motivate people to improve their cardiovascular health.
“These findings support improving population health by promoting adherence to ideal cardiovascular health, which may also narrow health disparities related to socioeconomic status.”
Another study of more than 23,000 adults in the US found life expectancy was 83.4 years for those with ideal cardiovascular health, or scores of 80 or greater.
Lead author Dr Hao Ma, also from Tulane, said: “We found that more than 40 percent of the increased life expectancy at age 50 from adhering to ideal cardiovascular health may be explained by the reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease death.”
Cardiovascular diseases are the world’s biggest killers, claiming around 18 million lives yearly worldwide.
LE8 writing group leader Professor Donald Lloyd-Jones, of Northwestern University, Chicago, said: “What struck me about this abstract particularly was that there’s a really big jump going from individuals who have poor cardiovascular health to just intermediate levels of cardiovascular health.
“Overall, we see this seven-and-a-half-year difference going from poor to high cardiovascular health.
“The cardiovascular health construct studied in these two abstracts really does nail what patients are trying to do, which is finding the fountain of youth.”
The studies were presented at an American Heart Association meeting in Boston.
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