According to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, more than 32,000 Utahns are age 85 or older; and this number is expected to climb to nearly 60,000 by the year 2030.
Now Dr. Clyde Yancy, a professor of medicine and chief of cardiology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, suggests more people could live to 90 or older by making seven simple lifestyle changes.
Dr. Yancy, former president of the American Heart Association, told delegates at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Vancouver on October 23 that people could increase their chances of living to 90 or 100 by following a few simple steps to a healthy life.
Dr. Yancy indicates that you will not only live longer, but healthier lives – free of heart disease, stroke and other chronic illnesses – by following these seven simple steps*:
Get Active: Inactivity can shave almost four years off a person’s expected lifespan. People who are physically inactive are twice as likely to be at risk for heart disease or stroke.
Know and Control Cholesterol Levels: According to the American Heart Association, more than 102 million American Adults (20 years or older) have total cholesterol levels at or above that which is considered healthy levels. High cholesterol can lead to the build up of fatty deposits in your arteries − increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Follow a Healthy Diet: Healthy eating is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health, yet few Americans eat a healthy diet. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are intended to help “Americans to live longer, healthier, and more active lives.”
Know and Control Blood Pressure:High blood pressure − often called a ‘silent killer’ because it has no warning signs or symptoms − affects 30 percent of Americans. By knowing and controlling your blood pressure, you can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40 percent and the risk of heart attack by up to 25 percent.
Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight: More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese – major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Being obese can reduce your life span by almost four years.
Manage Diabetes: By 2030 an estimated 30 million Americans will live with diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), coronary artery disease, and stroke, particularly if your blood sugar levels are poorly controlled.
Be Tobacco Free: According to the CDC about one in five deaths in the United States are caused by cigarette smoking each year. Regrettably, almost 50,000 deaths per year result from secondhand smoke exposure. As soon as you become smoke-free, your risk of heart disease and stroke begins to decrease. After 15 years, your risk will be nearly that of a non-smoker.
Dr. Yancy recommends governments invest in steady and more focused prevention strategies, including changing current sodium policies, continued progress in tobacco control initiatives and health education.
* Data adapted to reflect American health statistics instead of Canadian.