People who adopt healthy behaviours, such as being active, not smoking and keeping a healthy weight, can significantly reduce their risk of heart failure, according to a study.
Researchers from the US monitored the health of nearly 4,500 men and women age 65 and older, for up to 21 years, noting their lifestyle habits. During the study, published in the American College of Cardiology journal Heart Failure, more than 1,300 suffered heart failure.
Heart failure is where the heart muscle is permanently damaged, usually following a heart attack, and the heart no longer pumps blood around the body as effectively. In its severest form heart failure has a life expectancy worse than many cancers.
The study looked at habits and behaviours such as smoking, alcohol intake, weight, exercise levels and diet. The researchers found that people who did not smoke, had modest alcohol intake, maintained a healthy weight, and did regular exercise were half as likely to develop heart failure as those who did just one or none.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, our Associate Medical Director, said: "More than half a million people across the UK have been diagnosed with heart failure, an incurable condition where your heart has been permanently damaged, often following a heart attack.
"This research shows that not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting plenty of exercise are associated with a significantly reduced risk of heart failure, a really debilitating disease.
"We know that even small changes can make a big difference to your heart health, and it’s never too late to start."
Mending Broken Hearts
Our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal is dedicated to finding a cure for heart failure through regenerative medicine research. Our research is only possible through generous donations from the public, but there is still lots of work to do in the fight for every heartbeat. Please continue to support our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal to help us find a cure for heart failure.