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Good Housekeeping
Charlene J. Owen, Contributor
November 13, 2012

Taking Care of Your Heart May Add 14 Years to Your Life

The right lifestyle may just add 14 fruitful years to your life. By Charlene J. Owen

According to a study on, if you manage to keep a healthy heart, you’re more likely to add 14 years to your life.

Together with his colleagues, John T. Wilkins, first author of the study, assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, collated data from previous researches and analyzed participants’ chances of developing cardiovascular conditions from ages 45 to 95. Starting out risk-free, the participants had their blood pressure, total cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking statuses taken through the years.

The results showed that although men had a 60 percent chance of contracting heart disease by age 60 and women by age 56, those who lived healthy lifestyles lived an additional 14 years longer without cardiovascular conditions as compared to those who didn’t.

"We found that many people develop cardiovascular disease as they live into old age, but those with optimal risk factor levels live disease-free longer. We need to do everything we can to maintain optimal risk factors so that we reduce the chances of developing cardiovascular disease and increase the chances that we'll live longer and healthier," Wilkins explains.

It pays to take care of your body by eating right, sleeping enough, and exercising often. Walking and jogging can help strengthen your heart muscle, while eating low-fat and cholesterol-free food may help keep your arteries clear. Letting go of bad habits such as drinking and smoking can also make a difference. Loving your heart today may just save your life tomorrow, so it’s best to start being conscious of your lifestyle while you’re young.

(Photo by Piccadilly Pink via Flickr Creative Commons)

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