Adopting healthy lifestyle can cut heart failure risk

A person`s lifetime risk of developing heart failure is one in five at age 40. However, a new study has suggested that adopting a healthy lifestyle – including watching your weight, not smoking, regularly exercising and eating lots of veggies – could significantly reduce the risk of developing heart failure.

It found that people who followed one healthy lifestyle behavior significantly reduced their heart failure risk, and each additional healthy behavior further decreased their risk.

Previous research has shown an association between healthy lifestyle behaviors and lower risk of heart failure in men. The new study is the first to find a similar connection in women.

7 ways to heart health

Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La followed more than 18,000 men and nearly 20,000 women from Finland ranging in age from 25 to 74 years for about 14 years. During this time, 638 of the men and 445 of the women developed heart failure.

After taking into account risk factors for heart failure such as diabetes, high blood pressure and a previous heart attack, the study found men who smoked had an 86 percent greater risk for heart failure than the non-smokers. That risk jumped to 109 percent among women.

Overweight men had a 15 percent increased risk of heart failure, while overweight women had a 21 percent increased chance. That added risk surged to 75 percent for obese men and 106 percent for obese women.

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