October 17, 2019

Major cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in midlife and extreme longevity

A Urtamo et al, 2019. Major cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in midlife and extreme longevity, Aging Clinical Experimental Research, published online.

Background:  The studies on the association of various midlife risk factors with reaching 90 years or more are scarce. We studied this association in a socioeconomically homogenous cohort of businessmen. Methods: The study consists of men (n=970) from the Helsinki Businessmen Study cohort (born 1919–1928). Five major cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors (smoking, BMI, blood pressure, serum lipids, fasting glucose), consumption of alcohol and coffee, self-rated health and self-rated fitness, were assessed in 1974, at an average age of 50 years. The number of major risk factors was tested as a risk burden. The Charlson Comorbidity Index and the RAND-36 (SF-36) Physical and Mental health summary scores were calculated from surveys in year 2000, at age of 73 years. Mortality dates were retrieved through 31 March 2018 from the Population Information System of Finland. Results: 244 men survived to the age of 90 representing 25.2% of the study cohort. The survivors had less risk factor burden in midlife, and less morbidity and higher physical health summary score in 2000. Of those with five major risk factors only 7% survived up to 90 years, whereas 51% of those without any risk factors reached that age. Single risk factors reducing odds of reaching 90 years were smoking (odds ratio [OR] 0.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.34–0.67), glucose (0.66, 0.49–0.88), BMI (0.63, 0.46–0.86), and cholesterol (0.71, 0.53–0.96). Conclusion: Lack of five major CVD risk factors in midlife strongly increased odds of reaching 90 years of age and also predicted factors related to successful ageing in late life.

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