A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure found that adults who reached the age of 45 without experiencing hypertension, diabetes, and obesity were 73% less likely to develop heart failure later on in life. Those who reached the age of 55 without any of the three risk factors were 83% less likely to develop heart failure.
Researchers analyzed data from 4 heart studies that took place in the United States between 1948 and 1987 and tracked outcomes through 2007 to 2008 for 19,249 men and women whose heart health had been assessed at the age of 45 years. They followed another 23,915 whose heart health status was verified at age 55. Heart failure occurred in 1677 participants at age 45 and in 2976 at age 55.
Men without any of the three risk factors at age 45 lived, on average, 10.6 years longer free of heart failure than individuals with all three risk factors. Women who reached age 45 without any of the three risk factors lived on average 14.9 years longer without heart failure.
Diabetes had a particularly strong association of the three risk factors with heart failure: those without diabetes in middle age lived on average 8.6 to 10.6 years longer without heart failure than those who had diabetes.
The study adds more evidence to the link between diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and the risk of developing heart failure. Senior study author Dr. John Wilkins of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago commented that the benefits of preventing the onset of the risk factors themselves often far exceeds the benefits of treating the risk factors after they’ve already developed.