and Medicine for Seniors
Heart Attacks in Older Men May Drop
80% with Modest Diet, Lifestyle Changes
Study of over 20,000 men age 45 to 79
published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology
28, 2014 If you are a male senior citizens this study should get your
attention. It concludes that 80 percent - four out of five - of heart
attacks (myocardial infarctions) in men may be preventable with a
relatively easy combination low-risk behavior in diet and lifestyle.
The new study published in the
Journal of the American College of Cardiology studied a
population-based group of 20,721 men ages 45 to 79 years old.
Agneta Akesson, PhD, associate
professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska
Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues examined the benefit of
combined diet and lifestyle practices on the incidence of MI (myocardial
infarction) in men
These men had no history of cancer,
cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol
The study considered five low-risk
.a healthy diet (top quintile of Recommended Food Score; see more below
.moderate alcohol consumption (10 to 30 grams per day),
.being physically active (walking/bicycling 40 min per day and
exercising one hour per week), and
.having no abdominal adiposity (waist circumference <95 cm), the
authors conducted follow-ups across an 11 year period.
In the study over 11 years they
recorded 1,361 heart attacks, and concluded that that low-risk dietary
choice together with just moderate alcohol consumption was associated
with a relative risk of 0.65 compared with men having zero of the five
But, men who maintained all five
low-risk factors compared with those with zero low-risk factors had a
relative risk of 0.14 (95 percent). Based on the study population, men
that achieve all five low-risk factors could prevent 79 percent (95
percent CI: 34 percent to 93 percent) of the potential MI events.
The incidence of myocardial infarction decreased
with the number of positive behaviors in both healthy men and in those
with hypertension and high cholesterol.
It is not surprising that healthy
lifestyle choices would lead to a reduction in heart attacks, said
What is surprising is how
drastically the risk dropped due to these factors.
It is important to note that these
lifestyle behaviors are modifiable, and changing from high-risk to
low-risk behaviors can have great impact on cardiovascular health, she
However, the best thing one can do
is to adopt healthy lifestyle choices early in life.
In a commenting editorial Dariush
Mozaffarian, MD, FACC, writes, These findings highlight the primacy of
healthy lifestyle. For both individual patients and populations,
lifestyle goals should not be formulated solely for control of weight or
blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.
Although lifestyle has major
benefits on these physiological factors, a healthier diet, greater
activity and nonsmoking influence numerous other pathways of risk and
produce substantial additional benefits for cardiovascular and
About Recommended Food Score
The 51-point Recommended Food Score
(RFS) measures dietary diversity in the National Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey. It awards points for weekly intake of 51 foods (e.g.
fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats
and poultry). (More