Easy Way to Add 10 Years to Your Life

If you want to live to a ripe old age, you have to start early. That's the latest word from the large and long-running Framingham Heart Study, which has proposed a new way to live a long and healthy life: Do everything you can to celebrate your 50th birthday with as few risk factors as possible for heart disease and stroke.
If you do this, you can expect to add about 10 years to your life, reports The Washington Post. The trick is to start in your teens and 20s. Why? By middle age--and that magical 50th birthday--most risk factors for heart disease are in place, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.
So what do you need to do now to cash in on that extra decade later?
Don't smoke.
Maintain a healthy weight and diet.
Exercise regularly.
Living longer is all about prevention. Do all three of these and you could drastically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 killer and leading cause of serious illness in the United States, and add 10 years to your life, according to this study which began in 1948 and includes data from 3,564 men and 4,362 women.
When men hit 50 with two or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, their lifetime risk of developing the illness is 69 percent, compared to just 5 percent for those with one or none. Women who have two or more risk factors by their 50th birthday have a 50 percent lifetime risk of the disease, compared with 8 percent for those with less than two. In this study, those who had the minimal risk lived 10 years longer than those with the higher risk, specifically 89 years old for both men and women.

This will make you sit up and take notice: Only 3 percent of the men and 4.5 percent of the women who participated in the Framingham Heart Study turned 50 with less than two risk factors for cardiovascular disease, numbers the researchers say apply to the larger American population as well.
Howard Cooper, associate director of the coronary care unit at Washington Hospital Center, told the Post that for this to work teenagers and young adults need to create a lifestyle for themselves that will prevent them from developing cardiovascular disease.
The study findings were published in the journal Circulation.