A study by the American Heart Association has found that middle-aged individuals with healthy hearts tend to live longer and remain healthier than those in the same age group with less healthy hearts.
Over the course of 40 years, the health records of individuals were studied to determine how their overall health compared to one another, specifically looking at how high-risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol affected the results.
The study found that middle-aged people with no high-risk factors lived an average of 3.9 more years, survived 4.5 years longer before developing a chronic disease, and had 22% fewer senior years with a chronic illness than those with two or more high-risk factors.
Heart disease was also looked at separately within the research, with fairly conclusive results. Of the 18,714 participants who reached age 65 without suffering a heart attack, stroke or congestive heart failure, those with no high-risk factors lived 6.9 years longer without heart disease and spent 46.5% fewer of their senior years with heart disease.
This research further cements the importance of taking control of your health as early as possible.