Adults who live a heart-healthy lifestyle, as measured by the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 (LE8) cardiovascular health scoring, tend to live longer lives free of chronic disease. The preliminary studies will be presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2023, held in Boston, February 28-March 3, 2023.
In June 2022, the American Heart Association updated the metrics for optimal cardiovascular health to include sleep – Life’s Essential 8. The tool measures 4 indicators related to cardiovascular and metabolic health status (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index); and 4 behavioral/lifestyle factors (smoking status, physical activity, sleep and diet).
The first study investigated whether levels of cardiovascular health estimated by the Association’s Life’s Essential 8 metrics were associated with life expectancy free of major chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and dementia.
When the researchers compared life expectancy and disease-free years among the groups, they found:
- Adults who scored as having ideal cardiovascular health lived substantially longer than those scored in the poor heart health category. Men and women with ideal cardiovascular health at age 50 had an average 5.2 years and 6.3 years more of total life expectancy, respectively, when compared to the men and women who scored as having poor cardiovascular health.
- Adults with ideal cardiovascular health scores lived longer without chronic disease. Disease-free life expectancy accounted for nearly 76% of total life expectancy for men and more than 83% for women who had ideal cardiovascular health – in contrast, disease-free life expectancy was only 64.9% of men and 69.4% of women with poor cardiovascular health.
The second study focused on whether the association of Life’s Essential 8 with total life expectancy differed by sex or race in U.S. adults.
The researchers analyzed health information, including Life’s Essential 8 scores, for more than 23,000 U.S. adults who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2005 to 2018.
The analysis found:
- Life expectancy for adults at age 50 was an average of an additional 33.4 years for those with ideal cardiovascular health, or scores of 80 or greater; in comparison, additional life expectancy was 25.3 years for adults with poor cardiovascular health, LE8 scores of less than 50.
- Adults with ideal cardiovascular health gained an estimated 8.1 years (7.5 additional years for men and 8.9 for women) of life expectancy at age 50, compared with those in the poor cardiovascular health category.