We know that living a healthy lifestyle is important at any age, but researchers at Northwestern University say the benefits are clear at midlife. In a major study published in he Journal of the American Medical Association, they found that people with optimal heart health could live as much as 14 years longer than their peers who have two or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
The researchers say that people with low risk factors also tend to live longer without disease. The risk factors included blood pressure, total cholesterol, diabetes and smoking status.
The data came from five age groups in the Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project, which looked at study participants' risk of cardiovascular disease at ages 45, 55, and 65 through the age of 95.
The researchers also found that middle-aged men had a 60 percent lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular disease while middle-aged women had a 56 percent risk.
The takeaway from the study for midlifers is the importance of getting a good picture of your overall health, including your cholesterol and blood pressure. If your numbers indicate that you have a problem, you should be working with your doctor to lower your risk.