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Life expectancy has increased considerably in the last decade. Information from research studies such as the Harvard Longitudinal Study, indicate that we can expect to live to 85 years when one is congruent with the "predictors."
High blood pressure (hypertension) in younger adults is caused by narrowing of the arteries and smaller arteries. In older adults the larger arteries play a more significant role in one's blood pressure. These large arteries become stiffer, lose some of their elasticity and do not "give" when the heart contracts which results in a higher blood pressure followed by a lower diastolic blood pressure. Usually the diastolic pressure has been used to determine if treatment is necessary and systolic pressure ignored.
It is difficult to understand the loss of an adult in the most productive phase of life. In general, it is believed that living to 85 years of age is an expectation, especially if following the predictors set forth by George Valliant, Director of the Harvard Longitudinal Study, and author of AGING WELL.
Joseph Difranza has reported a possible explanation as to why it is so difficult to quit smoking, even when a smoker no longer gets pleasure from smoking. Biological evidence shows that when an individual smokes a cigarette, the nicotine level rises in the blood.
The "person-to-person" spread of obesity is a recent observation of Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler (2007). These investigators examined the data from the Framingham Heart Study which included ~ 12,000 subjects.
There are circumstances and lifestyles than can increase the "risk" or probability of developing coronary artery disease. These are called "risk factors"
Leading a healthy lifestyle can have a tremendous impact on one's health. According to the U.S. Public Health Agency, 50% of the factors that determine all aspects of health arise from lifestyle choices. Considering that only 18% is derived from genetic makeup and 10% from the health care system, this puts a great deal of responsibility on an individual to maintain his or her own health.
Everyone is now aware of the connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. How many also realize that the smoker is three to four times more likely to experience heart attack than the nonsmoker, and that the attack is more likely to be fatal?
Even though younger women possess some gender-linked protective factor, we are still left with the unhappy statistic that coronary heart disease accounts for 250,000 deaths each year among American women.
Approximately 20% of people over the age of twenty develop hypertension during their lifetime - with the frequency increasing with age. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to stroke, myocardial infarction, also heart and kidney failure.
In the past, your doctor has assessed your risk of cardiac events (heart attack, stroke) by the assessment of your cardiac risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol to name a few. However, we now realize that assessing risk factors alone doesn't tell us the whole story.