FRIDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In middle-aged men with cardiovascular risk factors, long-term life expectancy is significantly shortened even if they subsequently modify those risk factors, according to a study published Sept. 17 in BMJ.
Robert Clarke, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed data on 18,863 male civil servants ages 40 to 69 years at first assessment. At the first assessment, in 1967 to 1970, subjects had high rates of current smoking, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol (42, 39, and 51 percent, respectively). At a second assessment in 1997, two thirds-of the surviving smokers had long since quit, and the mean differences between those with low or high blood pressure and cholesterol had been reduced by two-thirds.
The researchers found that the baseline presence of all three risk factors was associated with significantly shorter life expectancy from age 50 (23.7 years) than the absence of all three risk factors (33.3 years). They also found that men whose risk score was in the highest 5 percent for these risk factors combined with diabetes, high body mass index, and low pay grade had a significantly shorter life expectancy from age 50 (20.2 years) than those whose risk score was in the lowest 5 percent (35.4 years).
"Continued public health strategies to lower mean levels of the three main cardiovascular risk factors, together with more intensive medical treatment for 'high-risk' subgroups, including use of medication to lower blood pressure and cholesterol concentration, that have proved efficacy could result in further improvements in life expectancy," the authors write.
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