What are cardiovascular health levels and why are they associated with a longer healthy free life expectancy?

The better the heart, there is better general health and a longer life expectancy (Getty)

The Life expectancy average has increased substantially in recent decades in most industrialized countries. However, not all of the increase in life expectancy is being spent in optimal health, especially among people of low socioeconomic status.

Now, according to a study just published in JAMA Internal Medicineand high level of cardiovascular health it is associated with a longer life expectancy free of major chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.

Xuan Wang, a team specialist at Tulane University in New Orleans, and colleagues quantified the associations between HVC levels estimated by the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 metric and life expectancy. free of major chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia) in a cohort study involving 135,199 adults drawn from the UK Biobank database. Data analyzes were performed last August.

There are 8 aspects that can be adopted: from physical exercise to check-ups for other pathologies (Gettyimages)

Despite the general improvement in cardiovascular mortality, the proportion of young adults, for example, who experience cardiovascular events has increased. Previous studies have shown that the prevalence of ideal cardiovascular health (CVH) among the very young is abysmally low. In addition to traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, poor sleep health has been associated with an increased risk of mortality cardiovascular

Cardiovascular health levels, estimated by the LE8 score, consist of 8 components: diet, physical activity, tobacco/nicotine exposure, sleep, body mass index, non-high-density lipoproteins or cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure. HVC level was assessed at baseline and categorized as low (LE8 score <50), moderate (LE8 score ≥50 but <80), and high (LE8 score ≥80). The primary outcome was cancer-free life expectancy. 4 main chronic diseases (CVD, diabetes, cancer and dementia).

The researchers found that the estimated disease-free years at age 50 were 21.5%, 25.5%, and 28.4% with low, moderate, and high CVH levels, respectively, for men. While the values ​​of 24.2%, 30.5% and 33.6%, respectively, were those detected for women in each of the cardiovascular health states.

Physical exercise is one of the keys to good cardiovascular health (Getty)

On average, men with moderate or high CVH lived 4,0 o 6,9 more chronic disease-free years, respectively, based on records taken at age 50, compared with men with low HQV. For women, the corresponding longest chronic disease-free years were 6,3 y 9,4. No statistically significant differences in disease-free life expectancy were observed among participants with low socioeconomic status and others among participants with high CVH.

”These findings support improvement in population health by promoting high levels of CVH, which may also reduce health disparities associated with socioeconomic status. In this cohort study, a high level of CVH, assessed with the LE8 metric, was associated with a longer life expectancy free of major chronic diseases and may contribute to reduce inequalities socioeconomic health in both men and women”, concluded Xuan Wang.

According to the study, women with good cardiovascular health would be free of chronic diseases for more years than men

In 2010, the American Heart Association introduced the concept of ideal HVC to improve health at the individual and population level through an emphasis on primary prevention and introduced the Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) score for HVC measurement. The 2022 AHA Life’s Essential 8 Score (LE8) improves on the existing framework established by the LS7 by optimizing the methods by which the 7 different components (physical activity, blood glucose, blood lipids, blood pressure, smoking, body mass index, and diet) impact health, in addition to add sleep as a new CVH determinant.

The LE8 score is performed on a scale of 0 to 100, which makes it easier to understand, improves the quantification of CVH in an individual, and increases the sensitivity of measuring changes over time at the individual and population level.

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