live longer It has been one of the main obsessions of humanity. In this sense, scientific and medical advances have helped in an impressive way to achieve this goal: we are living longer than ever in history. But research on how to further extend life expectancy without suffering from chronic diseases have not stopped. Clearly, leading a healthy lifestyle is critical to improving cardiovascular health and increasing longevity.
To make it easier for us to make healthy decisions on a day-to-day basis, the American Heart Association (AHA) devised in 2022 the system known as ‘Life’s Essential 8’, eight essential tips to take care of the heart covering multiple aspects of general health.
Recently, two studies presented at the American Heart Association Congress show that the higher the score a person obtains when it comes to meeting the ‘Life’s Essential 8’, longer life expectancy free of chronic diseases and less chance of dying from a cardiovascular accident. In fact, those who more strictly follow the recommendations on this list They could live up to 8 years more on average.
The first of the two studies examined whether a high cardiovascular health score was associated with increased total life expectancy and life expectancy in the absence of chronic disease. For it analyzed data from more than 136,000 adult UK residents who, at the time of enrollment, did not have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, or dementia and had cardiovascular health score data available.
The team led by researcher Xuan Wang, a biostatistician in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of New Orleans Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, classified them as having poor, intermediate, or ideal cardiovascular health based on criteria defined by ‘ Life’s Essential 8’. The researchers discovered that the average life expectancy at 50 years was prolonged by 5.2 and 6.3 years in men and women with ideal cardiovascular health, respectively, compared to their counterparts in poor cardiovascular health.
Also, also lived more years without suffering serious chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer. Specifically, men and women with an ideal score were expected to spend 75.9% and 83.4% of their lives in good health, respectively. Meanwhile, their male and female counterparts with a poor mark would spend 64.9% and 69.4% of their lives free of chronic disease.
On the other hand, the second study analyzed whether the parameters estimated in ‘Life’s Essential 8’ would be associated with a increased life expectancy due to a decrease in cardiovascular deaths. This case used data from 23,000 US adults who participated in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2018. The conclusions of this study were that participants with ideal cardiovascular health had a hope of longer life than individuals with poor cardiovascular health.
Specifically, the life expectancy of men and women with ideal cardiovascular health at age 50 was an average of 7.5 years and 8.9 years longerrespectively, greater than that of their counterparts with poor cardiovascular health.
And that the 41.8% and 44.1% of the increase in life expectancy at age 50 in men and women with an ideal score on the ‘Life’s Essential 8’, respectively, could be attributed to a decline in deaths from cardiovascular disease. In adults who reach the age of 50 on average with ideal cardiovascular health, an expected life expectancy of additional life of 33.4 more years of life (up to 83.4 years). By comparison, the hope for adults 50 years and older with poor cardiovascular health would be an additional 25.3 years (up to 75.3 years).
Dr. Hao Ma, a biostatistical analyst at the Tulane University Obesity Research Center and an author of this study, said: “After decades of strong growth, the increase in life expectancy in the United States has stagnated since 2010. . The main reason for such a phenomenon is poor cardiovascular health. Our study indicates that adherence to the ‘Life’s Essential 8’ is related to a considerable increase in life expectancy.”
What are ‘Life’s Essential 8’?
In 2010, the American Heart Association developed a health recipe called ‘Life’s Simple 7’, consisting of seven risk factors or measurable metrics which, together, represented cardiovascular health. But in the summer of last year, the AHA revised them to create the ‘Life’s Essential 8’, in order to improve the measurement and monitoring of cardiovascular health and facilitate the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
The eight metrics that make up the ‘Life’s Essential 8’ construct include physical activity, diet, smoking and other forms of nicotine exposure such as vaping, the dream (between 7 and 9 hours per night for adults), keep a healthy body mass index (between 18.5 and 24.9), control blood glucose, blood lipids and control blood pressure. Each of the metrics included in Life’s Essential 8 is measured on a continuous scale from 0 to 100. These individual metrics are used to calculate the Composite or Cumulative Cardiovascular Health Score which also ranges from 0 to 100 points.
Although life expectancy has increased in recent decades, so has the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The combined effects of the metrics included in ‘Life’s Essential 8’ -such as being more active, quitting smoking and controlling blood pressure- are associated with a longer total life expectancy.