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Obesity and diabetes by middle age linked to increased heart failure risk

Preventing the onset of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes in middle age ‘will substantially increase the average number of years a person lives healthily’, according to a recent study.
Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are known to increase a person’s risk of developing heart failure, which causes structural damage to the heart and reduces its ability to circulate blood around the body.
Adults who present none of these conditions by 45 years old were 73 per cent less likely to develop heart failure, and those who reached 55 years without the conditions were 83 per cent less likely.
The key to prevention of heart failure is weight control along with regular monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugar levels, according to Dr Mary Norine Walsh, medical director of heart failure and cardiac transplantation at St. Vincent Heart Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
Commenting on the study, she said: “Keeping your weight under control pays off later in life, and monitoring your blood pressure and blood sugar with your physician is crucial. Avoiding all three of these conditions can add years to your life.”
Researchers analysed data of tens of thousands of men and women in the US up to the age of 95 or death. Of these, 53 per cent did not have diabetes, hypertension or obesity at age 45 and fewer than one per cent had all three risk factors at that age.
Around 44 per cent of adults aged 55 were not presenting any of the three risk factors for heart failure; 2.6 per cent had all three.
A total of 1,677 cases of heart failure were identified among adults from the age of 45 and a further 2,976 cases were found in those aged 55 or over.
Dr. John Wilkins of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, senior study author, said: “Preventing the onset of obesity, hypertension and diabetes will substantially lower a person’s risk for heart failure and substantially increase the average number of years they will live healthy.
“The benefits of preventing the onset of the risk factors themselves often far exceeds the benefits experienced through treatment of the risk factors after they’ve developed.”
Me, women of all races and backgrounds who showed no signs of any of the three risk factors by the age of 45 or 55 were notably less likely to develop heart failure as they aged with men at 45 living an average of 10.6 years longer than their counterparts with all three and women living an average of 14.9 years longer.
The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure.

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