Health

June 4, 2013

4 simple lifestyle changes can protect your heart

According to a multi-center study led by Johns Hopkins researchers, there is a significant link between lifestyle factors and heart health, adding even more evidence in support of regular exercise, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, keeping a normal weight and -- most importantly -- not smoking.

Adopting those four lifestyle behaviors, researchers say, provide protection against coronary heart disease as well as the early buildup of calcium deposits in heart arteries, and reduce the chance of death from all causes by 80 percent over an eight-year period.

Results of the study are described in an online article posted June 3, 2013 by the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Lowering the risk

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to find a protective association between low-risk lifestyle factors and early signs of vascular disease, coronary heart disease and death, in a single longitudinal evaluation," says Haitham Ahmed, M.D., M.P.H., the lead author who is an internal medicine resident with the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins.

"We evaluated data on more than 6,200 men and women, age 44-84, from white, African-American, Hispanic and Chinese backgrounds. All were followed for an average of 7.6 years,” says Ahmed. “Those who adopted all four healthy behaviors had an 80 percent lower death rate over that time period compared to participants with none of the healthy behaviors."

Gauging the risk

Study participants all took part in the continuing Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a prospective examination of the risk factors, prevalence and prevention of cardiovascular disease. MESA participants were recruited from six academic medical centers and did not have a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease when they were enrolled.

All participants had coronary calcium screening using computed tomography (a CT scan) when they were first enrolled in the study to see if there were early signs of calcium deposits in their heart arteries that are known to contribute to heart attack risk. As the study progressed, the researchers also assessed whether the participants had a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, chest pain, angioplasty or died due to coronary heart disease or other causes.

Text Only
Health
  • DFD Firefighters Fight For Air.jpg Area firefighters climbing Atlanta tower to benefit lung association

    Local firefighters are teaming up to participate in the American Lung Association’s 8th annual vertical challenge to race to the top of One Ninety One Peachtree Tower in downtown Atlanta Saturday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • Obama gets bill giving docs temporary Medicare fix

    Congress once again has given doctors temporary relief from a flawed Medicare payment formula that threatened them with a 24 percent cut in their fees.

    April 1, 2014

  • Deadline brings high interest for health insurance

    A blizzard, jammed phone lines and unreliable websites failed to stop throngs of procrastinating Americans from trying to sign up for health coverage by the midnight Monday deadline for President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative.

    April 1, 2014

  • Health care website stumbles on last day

    The Obama administration’s health care website stumbled early Monday, falling out of service for nearly four hours on deadline day for sign-ups. After it was fixed, officials plowed ahead with a nationwide promotional drive, almost like getting out the vote on Election Day.

    March 31, 2014

  • Bess Stanford earns Extra Mile Award at Gordon Hospital

    Bess Stanford has been awarded Gordon Hospital’s prestigious Extra Mile Award.

    March 19, 2014

  • Gordon Hospital accepts infant car seat donation

    Gordon Hospital officials were thrilled to receive several infant car seats recently thanks to a program through the Gordon County Probate Court.

    March 19, 2014

  • Dr. Carson 1 mlh.jpg Doctor on call

    Call it the wave of the future or maybe a return to ancient practice. Dr. Stephen Carson’s medical practice sounds a little like both.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two-year extension seen for canceled health plans

    The Obama administration will allow a two-year extension for people whose individual health insurance policies don’t comply with requirements of the new health care law, helping to defuse a politically difficult election-year issue for Democrats.

    March 5, 2014

  • Health law fix for state-run websites

    The Obama administration quietly issued a health law fix Thursday to help states that have had technical problems running their own enrollment websites. It could stir up critics but may help the law’s supporters.

    February 28, 2014

  • Does your insurance plan cover self-inflicted injuries?

    Dealing with a suicide or attempted suicide is stressful enough. Some health plans make the experience worse by refusing to cover medical costs for injuries that are related to suicide or an attempt - even though experts say that in many cases such exclusions aren't permitted under federal law.

    February 27, 2014