Blog | Thursday, November 8, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Later heart disease prevalent in those without risk factors in middle age

Three of 1o people with no cardiovascular risk factors will still get heart disease, and those with at least one risk factor face a 50-50 shot at developing it, a study found.

But, those who didn't have any major risk factors of blood pressure less than 120/80 mm Hg; total cholesterol less than 180 mg/dL; and no smoking or diabetes lived an average of 14 years more free of cardiovascular disease, the report continued.

To calculate lifetime risk estimates of total CVD every 10 years starting at age 45, researchers conducted a pooled survival analysis of more than 900,000 person-years of data from 1964 through 2008 from five National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute-funded community-based cohorts.

Results appeared in the Nov. 7 issue of Journal of the American Heart Association.

Overall lifetime risk for total CVD was 60.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 59.3% to 61.2%) for men and 55.6% (95% CI, 54.5% to 56.7%) for women.

Researchers noted that:
--Lifetime risk for total CVD through age 95 exceeded 50% in participants with one major or at least two major risk factors for men and women;
--Lifetime risks for total CVD were more than 40% for men and more than 30% for women with one or more not optimal risk factor levels at index ages 55 and 65;
--By age 55, men with optimal risk factor profiles had remaining lifetime risks for total CVD that exceeded 40% and women had risks that approached 30% to age 85.

Researchers suggested that "despite optimal risk factor levels in middle age, lifetime risk may still be elevated and may be driven largely by aging and the accumulation of downstream risk factors" such as hypertension, which occurs in 90% of men and women who don't have the condition in middle-age, and which contributes to heart disease.