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Not age or race, but risk factors determine ‘cardiovascular destiny’
January 25th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Not age or race, but risk factors determine ‘cardiovascular destiny’

It’s well documented that certain factors increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Most people know the big ones - high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes.  But age, gender and ethnicity also have been thought to play a role. 

Now a report published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that these risk factors alone are responsible for your cardiovascular destiny, and that having just one can up your risk considerably.

Study authors analyzed the data from 18 studies involving more than 250,000 men and women from different ethnic backgrounds whose risk factors were measured at age 45, 55, 65 and 75.  This allowed the authors to determine the risk of dying from heart attack or stroke over the course of a lifetime, rather than just 5 to 10 years in the future as has been previously studied.

What the researchers found can be boiled down to this:

“Regardless of how old you are, male or female, white or black, what decade you were born in, your cardiovascular destiny is determined by those risk factors,” study author Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones said.

Cardiovascular destiny - an interesting phrase.  Lloyd-Jones, a cardiologist and researcher at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, uses the term to describe a person’s likelihood of dying from a heart attack or stroke.  He said that destiny can be set in stone by your mid-forties.

So what does that mean?  Let’s say a 45-year-old man comes into a doctor’s office with zero risk factors: His cholesterol level is less than 180, his blood pressure is less than 120 over 80, he doesn’t smoke and he doesn’t have diabetes. His risk of dying from cardiovascular disease at any point during his lifetime is approximately 1.4%, according to the study.

But let’s assume he’s more like the majority of Americans, this man has high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Or he has diabetes and he smokes.  Just having two major risk factors increases our patient’s likelihood of eventually dying from cardiovascular disease to 49.5%.

And although the statistics are slightly different, this big jump is true if you’re male or female, black or white, young or old.  Turns out, when it comes to heart health – race, sex and age don’t really matter, according to this new study.

“Once these risk factors develop, the horse is already pretty well out of the barn,” Lloyd-Jones said. “If you reach middle age with the [zero] risk levels, you’ve almost abolished the chance you’ll have a heart attack or stroke.”

If not, your cardiovascular destiny is a bit bleaker. Even if your chances of having a heart attack five years from now are small, your chances of having a heart attack over the next 20 years are still high, Lloyd-Jones said.

The study’s real message is that it’s never too early to begin prevention, said Gordon Tomaselli, president of the American Heart Association.

“Be aware of your risks for cardiovascular disease and manage them as early in life as possible,” Tomaselli said.  That means staying active, eating right, not smoking and knowing your family’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels – even your children’s.  And if you are that 45-year old patient with any one of the risk factors, Tomaselli recommends seeing your doctor right away so you can get treated. 

Tomaselli further believes the study’s results should push policy makers to change how we manage cardiovascular disease as a population.  Rather than treatment, we need to focus on creating an environment where the risk factors don’t exist through a proper food supply, tobacco regulation and providing open areas for activity, he said.

“All those things are really as important, and arguably more important, than anything we can do as doctors to prevent cardiovascular disease.”


soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. anna

    The Anti Obesity drug makers and diabetes drug makers take in 10 billion$$$$ every year with no cure!!

    Food Chemicals are the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis

    The FDA and Drug makers know this and are laughing to the Billionaire$$$ bank

    The food chemicals break the gut(insulin) and this is the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis

    A filmmaker has been reversing diabetes and Obesity WITHOUT MEDICATIONS in now 10 countries and the drug makers do not promote the story

    just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET”

    January 25, 2012 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fish

      Food chemicals cause Obesity? Please, fork in mouth Syndrome, poor food choices and lazy behavior cause obesity. Don't kid yourself into thinking its anybody's fault but the owner. People have to stop looking for the magic pill and just get off their proverbial @sses and make a commitment to exercise and attempting to eat right.

      January 26, 2012 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • Manen

      LOL....So it's 'Big Nutrition', eh? Not enough silly baseless conspiratorial nonsense out there already for you? How unutterably facetious and unsupported.... Why do people need to base every belief on some emotional need or 'sensibility... I guess it's the 'Bambi' generation arriving at it's destiny: absolute impotent destructive foolishness. '

      January 27, 2012 at 02:47 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Food chemicals "break the gut"? OH, that is the funniest, most LUDICROUS thing I've heard in ages. Well, maybe not THE most ridiculous, but pretty dang close.

      How about you get yourself an education and learn what insulin is, how it works, and how insulin tolerance is affected by over-consumption of high glycemic-index sugars (fructose, glucose) and hormones. Insulin comes from the pancreas, and in type-2 diabetes, the pancreas isn't "broken." It works just fine. In fact, it over-produces because the cells of the body are no longer using insulin efficiently to metabolize the sugars. This doesn't take place "in the gut." It takes place in every cell of the body.

      Seriously, I don't care if you personally live the rest of your life in ignorance, but please don't mis-educate others.

      January 27, 2012 at 09:53 | Report abuse |
    • missp

      Doctors tell their patients to eat right and exercise. What else are they supposed to do, imprison people and force them to be thin. People demand pills for weight loss because it's easier than eating less and exercising. You reap what you sow.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • c s

      Dr Andrew Saul gives information about how nutrition and supplements can change your life and your health. Two time Nobel prize winner Dr Linus Pauling understood cardiovascular disease as being a nutrition problem. Dr Pauling was the discover of the cause of the Sickle Cell Anemia and understood chemistry better than almost any other person in the world. Most medical doctors approach health from a MASH viewpoint instead of focusing on health as being mostly a problem of nutrition. Do a web search of Dr Andrew Saul and read his comments about using nutrition to make you more healthy.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
    • cnnguest2225

      I agree somewhat. People mistakenly think that physicians (MD and DO) are the ones whose high fees are causing all the trouble when in reality the drug companies don't always have the public's best interest as their primary concern.

      January 28, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      I agree wholehearedley Anna 9no pun intended). I have reversed my diabetes, hypertension, IBS & COPD not to mention severe depression by cutting out all processed food and wheat. No more drugs for me. The drug companies get richer and we get fatter.

      January 29, 2012 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • betty nickels

      Far to many lies are reported about prescriptions. I am 84 and refuse to take drugs. Have been told to find another cardiologist when I refused. Was told to have a 3-way by-pass or I would die, I had it and turned out to be 5-way and still had rapid heart beat and had pacemaker placement and was told to be on drugs the rest of my life. Threw out the drugs and now 12 years later, still no drugs. There is far to much greed connected to the medical field and enormous amount of control of the FDA and AMA.

      January 29, 2012 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • jackie

      Food chemicals are NOT the cause of obesity. If they are, please reply the credible sources and scientific research that has shown this. But I do agree on the fact that the drug companies are making a mint.

      And yes, we all need to take our health into our own hands. Get yourself a physical, blood work, weight, etc. Then make the healthy changes; better food choices, MORE FRUIT AND VEGGIES, physical activity, proper hydration, proper (personal) sleep, good personal hygiene (wash your hands so you are less apt to get sick and cause undue stress on the body!)....

      Look at your life. What do you have to live for? Children? Grandchildren? Want to finish writing that book? How about spending time with your significant other? Or just seeing the next amazing sunset or sunrise!!???

      Take control of your health....and live!!!!

      January 30, 2012 at 09:34 | Report abuse |
  2. portland tony

    Creating a perfect environment: a proper food supply (good food), tobacco regulation, open areas for activity. Sounds too good to be true. You are gonna die sooner or later but just not from a cardiac event?

    January 25, 2012 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • joe the tech

      Yep go on believing that. You have the heart attack at 56 and i will die of pneumonia at 98. Its all about the risk that will get you first.

      January 26, 2012 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      @Joe – You can also add that that heart attack at 56 will be preceeded by years of other health problems like arthritis, probably diabetes, and so many more. Whereas the pneumonia at 98 would follow a couple of weeks in bed after an enjoyable healthy life.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
  3. ksmahoney

    While this isn't really new information (control the risk factors you have control over), it is nice to encourage people to take active steps to reduce their risk. People are more likely to make changes if they feel those changes will make a difference
    http://www.losingtogether.com

    January 26, 2012 at 09:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • alan s

      Mahoney: You are correct that people are more likely to improve their lifestyle if they think it will make a difference. Which is why it is depressing to read about studies like this. I smoked cigarettes from age 40-54, so, in the article's words, my risk "horse" is already and forever "out of the barn". Kinda saps a feller of some of his motivation to improve.

      My mother quit smoking at 55 years old, after 37 years of cigarettes, and developed lung cancer when she was 75.

      Reminds me of Mickey Mantle saying "If I'd known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself."

      Bad habits do come back to haunt us.

      January 26, 2012 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      @alan s – I don't think they put it quite right in the article. The road to these diseases can be reversed, it doesn't just stop where your bad habit stopped. At 38 I already had arthritis and wide spread 1st stage skin cancer and now at 50 I have none of that. I changed my diet 7 years ago (after years of ineffective medication) and immediately started noticing changes. So the main point in my view is to just make the change as soon as you can.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
  4. William Patterson

    "...focus on creating an environment where the risk factors don’t exist through a proper food supply, tobacco regulation and providing open areas for activity, he said...."
    It seems that lifestyle choices are the leading cause of health problems, yet the President did not bring up the nations lack of "physical" health during the State of the Union speech, instead we need MORE cars, more (polluting?) industries, more oil from whatever sources? IF the government can urge job creation, better be in areas that promote overall physical/mental/emotional health of the people, not corporations and industries.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bob

      Hey William.Oh Really ? Tobacco ? They didn't have any......
      However, a medical text dating back to the time the princess lived—between 1550 and 1580 B.C.—describes the pain in the arm and chest that precedes a potentially fatal heart attack. (Read "Mending Broken Hearts" in National Geographic magazine.)

      In general, blocked arteries and heart attacks are health risks we associate with today's lifestyle and diet, not those of the ancient Egyptians, noted study co-author Michael Miyamoto of the University of California, San Diego's School of Medicine.

      "They lacked a lot of the risk factors that we consider to be important in the development of atherosclerosis in modern populations—namely smoking, high rates of diabetes and obesity, and foods rich in trans fats," Miyamoto said.

      January 26, 2012 at 23:43 | Report abuse |
    • bob

      Oh yea it's smoking Ok

      Heart disease is supposedly a modern affliction, the result of a diet rich in animal fat and too many hours spent on the sofa. But recent discoveries suggest that strokes and heart attacks may have been bedeviling humans for millenia.

      Dr. Greg Thomas is part of a team of scientists that recently discovered the earliest known case of atherosclerosis — clogged arteries — in ancient Egyptian mummies. The startling findings mean scientists may not understand heart disease as well as they think they do.

      Thomas tells Weekend All Things Considered host Linda Wertheimer that his team began by running mummies through a CT scanner.

      "Our hypothesis was that they wouldn't have [heart disease], because they were active, their diet was much different, they didn't have tobacco," he says.

      January 27, 2012 at 00:01 | Report abuse |
    • E

      And this was the era pre-antibiotics. So guess what. People in ancient civilizations died much, much earlier because of infections.

      Comparing the same disease between two different time periods is pointless.

      Too many differences in the environment and available understanding / technology of medicine.

      January 28, 2012 at 20:42 | Report abuse |
  5. Katie

    Where's the family history factor? One can have low blood pressure, low cholesterol, a non-smoker and not have diabetes and STILL die of a heart attack because that's what people in the family die of.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Damon

      So you didn't read the article I see, it states the exact opposite of what you wrote.

      January 26, 2012 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • Shelley

      Typically genetic links are to the risk factor rather than the heart attack. High cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity run in families thereby increasing risk of heart disease.

      January 26, 2012 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • Damon

      Shelley, I see you too never read the article, why bother commenting?

      January 27, 2012 at 08:21 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Shelley,
      Obesity runs in families because BAD EATING HABITS are passed down from parent to child. Fat kids aren't fat because their parents are fat and it's genetic. Fat kids are fat because they have the same bad diet and sedentary lifestyle as their lazy, fat parents. And all of the risk factors that come from bad BEHAVIORAL choices (poor diet and lack of exercise) such as high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes run in families largely because of learned behavior, not genetics.

      High cholesterol CAN be genetic. This one is true. One of my mother's first cousins is thin as a rail, was always physically active (runner and distance bicyclist), and ate an almost textbook-perfect diet. He had incredibly high cholesterol. So did his father and brother (although not as high as his). They were all very careful, but their bodies naturally over-produced cholesterol. However, a LOT of high cholesterol cases are influenced by bad diet, which... is nurture, not nature. And the same thing is true of some cases of type-2 diabetes. Some people are more prone to it than others. Still, very FEW people will get type-2 if they eat right and exercise. And again, those are learned behaviors, not genetics.

      *sigh*

      January 27, 2012 at 10:01 | Report abuse |
    • Liz in Seattle

      The risk of cardiovascaulr death before age 80 for a 55 year old with a perfect risk profile (which includes low cholesterol, and as Shelley accurately poiints out that can have a genetic component) is still around 5%. So yes it can still happen, but the data in the study would argue that these other factors have more influence in the general population.

      January 27, 2012 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
    • E

      @Damon.

      Did you read the article? Your responses reflect a poor at least incomplete picture of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

      Multiple risk factors for CVD exist. There are modifiable and non-modifiable ones. Dr. DLJ is pointing out the contributions of modifiable ones from his study. And he and his group likely considered non-modifiable ones, too. They are always in the background when considering CVD risk.

      Shelley and Katie raise valid points, since non-modifiable ones (like genetics and family history, gender) still matter. It would change how aggressive a doctor would treat a given patient.

      January 28, 2012 at 20:50 | Report abuse |
    • Hannah

      I have worked in Cardiac Rehabilitation for the past 10 years with many patients with all the classic risk factors and also many with nothing but family history of heart disease. I have experience with athletes who are on a strict low fat, low cholesterol diet which controls their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and are obviously very active and fit. However, their father died at 50 of an MI and they are now 50 and history repeats itself no matter how well they have taken care of themselves. Heart disease is not fully understood and it is very scary to see patients with no cardiac risk factors recovering from an MI or recovering for bypass surgery. It is also very scary to me to see the numbers of very young patients having heart attacks (30's and 40's) in the past couple of years just mainly due to stress, which was not mentioned at all in this article.

      January 29, 2012 at 10:52 | Report abuse |
  6. Samuel (Sam) Getaneh Bogale Calgary Alberta

    Enjoyed your article – so much information out there on this topic hard to distinguish the facts!

    January 26, 2012 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. bob

    Excuse me DOCTOR Gupta.Two things # 1 You forgot the USE OF ALCOHOL,And MAINLY DIET and EXCERCISE,SMoking does not CAUSE HEART DISEASE and here is the PROOF and THE TRUTH: Its in the LAST PARAGRAPH THE TRUTH..
    However, a medical text dating back to the time the princess lived—between 1550 and 1580 B.C.—describes the pain in the arm and chest that precedes a potentially fatal heart attack. (Read "Mending Broken Hearts" in National Geographic magazine.)

    In general, blocked arteries and heart attacks are health risks we associate with today's lifestyle and diet, not those of the ancient Egyptians, noted study co-author Michael Miyamoto of the University of California, San Diego's School of Medicine.

    "They lacked a lot of the risk factors that we consider to be important in the development of atherosclerosis in modern populations—namely smoking, high rates of diabetes and obesity, and foods rich in trans fats," Miyamoto said.

    January 26, 2012 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • E

      Let's turn this on its head, shall we.

      Did most people from older eras live long enough? Long enough to see heart attacks and strokes? Usually not.

      Keep in mind life expectancy in the world only really started rising in the 20th century.

      January 28, 2012 at 20:54 | Report abuse |
  8. bob

    They didnt have Tobacco Back then............So that BLOWS your theory right out the WINDOW,Yet they did have WINE,Fatty Foods and MOST LIKLEY some type of BEER..BUT NO SMOKING BACK THEN...Thank You

    January 26, 2012 at 23:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. bob

    And i know Personally 5 People who never smoked and had quadruple BYPASS SURGERY..SO what's your theory about SMOKING CAUSING WHAT ? Its Foods and BOOZE you know as well as i do Booze and foods raise TRYCLICERIDES,and Cholestrol throgh the roof stressing the arteries.....Thank You DR.
    ANd why were they STUNNED when they said in the Article that We were amazed that their WAS NO TOBACCO THEN,Flabbergasted

    January 26, 2012 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • missp

      The article states they only need 2 risk factors to dramatically increase their odds. Smoking is just one but I'm sure your friends covered 2 or 3 other factors.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
  10. bob

    This is the PROOF its NOT TOBACCO EXPERTS:

    Heart disease is supposedly a modern affliction, the result of a diet rich in animal fat and too many hours spent on the sofa. But recent discoveries suggest that strokes and heart attacks may have been bedeviling humans for millenia.

    Dr. Greg Thomas is part of a team of scientists that recently discovered the earliest known case of atherosclerosis — clogged arteries — in ancient Egyptian mummies. The startling findings mean scientists may not understand heart disease as well as they think they do.

    Thomas tells Weekend All Things Considered host Linda Wertheimer that his team began by running mummies through a CT scanner.

    "Our hypothesis was that they wouldn't have [heart disease], because they were active, their diet was much different, they didn't have tobacco," he says.

    January 27, 2012 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan

      The mummies are the remains of people who lived a decadent lifestyle with lots of poor food choices and very little exercise. They did not eat the same food as the general population and so it is really misleading to generalize about people’s health based on the remains of a few extremely wealthy individuals who got whatever they ordered.

      I also hope you are not trying to say that smoking is ok and that a sedentary lifestyle and fast food is not killing people!

      January 27, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • E

      It's also misleading to compare two vastly time periods.

      In earlier eras more often:
      People died sooner.
      People died from other causes.
      People had interesting (and wrong) views on medicine.

      Based on bob's posts, perhaps the last observation hasn't changed much.

      January 28, 2012 at 21:02 | Report abuse |
  11. bob

    Flouride is the cause of HEART and ARTERY DISEASE

    Groundbreaking new research has linked sodium fluoride to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. Researchers found that fluoride consumption directly stimulates the hardening of your arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis that is highly correlatedwith the #1 killer. Sodium fluoride is currently added to the water supply of many cities worldwide, despite extreme opposition from health professionals and previous studies linking it to decreased IQ and infertility.

    In their research, scientists examined the relationship between fluoride intake and the hardening (calcification) of the arteries. Studying more than 60 patients, the researchers found a significant correlation between fluoride consumption and the calcification of your arteries. Published in the January edition of the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications, the research highlights the fact that mass fluoride exposure may be to blame for the cardiovascular disease epidemic that takes more lives each year than cancer. In 2008, cardiovascular killed 17 million people.
    According to the authors of the study:
    “The coronary fluoride uptake value in patients with cardiovascular events was significantly higher than in patients without cardiovascular events.”

    January 27, 2012 at 00:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leo

      Wonderful. The worst hazard of reading CNN comments – the crackpot conspiracy theorists spouting false information in the hopes of riling up the ignorant masses. Fluoride has NOTHING to do with the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:05 | Report abuse |
  12. bob

    Lets see if i can find anymore truths..hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    January 27, 2012 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Agnieszka

      Candy,I also find that setting rules enpaxds rather than limits me creatively.I am right now trying to decide if I am including dyeing as part of my stash. I have on hand a bolt of white organic cotton, and a good range of procion dyes. So would fabrics I dye from this point forward be adding to my stash or using it up?I think I will be dyeing for at least one quilt as I want to push myself and see if I can eye match the colours from a print I have and love.

      November 16, 2012 at 02:50 | Report abuse |
  13. Youni

    Nice to have numbers, but underwhelming. Is the medical focus here on the wrong end of the donkey? "Hypertension" and "diabetes" are diseases for which there is no "cure" and inevitably lead to early death. Treating disease is what the existing medical system is paid to do. The closer you are to death, the more the system is willing to pay. Doctors are paid relatively little to practice disease prevention. In fact, preventing disease and treating disease would seem two very different (conflicting?) goals. Could doctors be paid for "performance"? – doctors specializing in prevention would get paid for successfully preventing disease (extending health) - while the medical doctors would get paid for success treating disease (extending life)?

    January 27, 2012 at 06:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leo

      Most doctors I know (and I work at a hospital so I know quite a few of them) TRY to get their patients to take preventative measures. They try A LOT. And most patients are too lazy, uneducated, OR financially incapable of making the necessary changes to prevent illness. I feel bad for the uneducated and poor ones, but I have no sympathy for the lazy.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • Liz in Seattle

      It's not the job of the doctors to take care of prevention. That's up to you and me.

      January 27, 2012 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • E

      @Liz

      I beg to differ.

      Without doctors, would you know what screening measures to check?
      Much less understand what they mean?
      For you in particular?

      And then, what prevention to do?

      If you think the Internet replaces the expertise of doctors, keep in mind those same doctors (hopefully, and not some bogus source) gather and vet the information for you on these sites.

      January 28, 2012 at 21:08 | Report abuse |
  14. missp

    Smokers need to realize that lung cancer isn't their only risk. Stroke and heart attack are way up there. I get confused by my smoking friends that claim heart disease runs in their family and that's why they are sick (high BP, cholesterol etc). Then I ask if their dead relatives were also smokers and shockingly enough, they were. Heart Disease doesn't run in families, bad habits do.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • E

      The earliest discoveries into cholesterol's link with heart disease were into *SHOCK* families with high rates of heart disease.

      Bad habits may run in families, but other parts of heart disease risk are still inherited. Like with all things in medicine, one cure doesn't always fit all.

      If anything, some people need to be extra careful with their bad habits.

      January 28, 2012 at 21:14 | Report abuse |
  15. Liz in Seattle

    I happened to have a print copy of this issue of the NEJM on my desk and just read the study. The main points of this article are true reagrding age and race, but there were differences in risks for men vs women, with women usually having a slightly lower risk (at each age) of death or nonfatal heart attack. The authors don't say whether these differences are significant or not. For example, the risk of death from cardiovascular disease for 55 year olds with the optimal risk profile vs those with two or more risk factors was 4.7% vs 30% for men but 6.4% vs 20.5% for women. I wish the authors would have spent more time on this.

    January 27, 2012 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • E

      While the results of statistical tests should formally tell a difference, it's very rare for 5% to be equivalent to 30%, especially with event rates.

      The Brits had it right when they suggested an experiment on the efficacy of parachutes.

      They eloquently expressed the sentiment: evidence-based anything should not replace common sense.

      January 28, 2012 at 21:30 | Report abuse |
  16. Andre Nicolai

    Well, I reached age 45 WITHOUT any risk factors (no smoke, no drinks, no high colesterol, no high blood pressure, no clogged arteries) but by age 57 I had CHF (congestive heart failure) due to an enlarged heart. I am now 68. Were my heart muscles attacked by a virus? In my cardiologist's words I am his worst-off patient (Left Ventricle Ejection Fraction at 15%) yet the one in better health. So how does this study affect me? Outside the congestion I never had any heart problems and diuretics (that are very cheap) do keep in check my congestion.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • E

      Depends on what caused your CHF.

      If atherosclerosis caused dead / dysfunctional heart muscle, then maybe.

      If not (and seem likes that's your case), then something else entirely is going on with you.

      That being said, you don't want to make the situation worse by adding on clogged arteries, yes?

      January 28, 2012 at 21:20 | Report abuse |
  17. Andre Nicolai

    P.S.: I forgot. I have .no diabetes and I am not obese (162 lbs, 5'8" height).

    January 28, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. gino

    Sugar and white carb foods are two of the worst things you can put into your body. More fish and fowl, much less meat (leanest possible when consumed), fresh veggies and fruit, no smoking, daily exercise and continuing attempts to maintain low LDL (A-factor), high HDL, blood pressure 130/80 or below and total cholesterol below 175 will, at the least, give your heart a decent chance of carrying you into vital and healthy later years.

    Continue the burgers with cheese and bacon, a couple of sodas a day, processed foods–especially those containing high fructose corn syrup, menus heavy on red meat, with few salads, vegetables or fresh fruit, and you're asking for an early grave, if not a heart attack or two, or a stroke.

    Cut out the smoking, exercise like there's no tomorrow (there may not be, otherwise), and controlthe alcohol intake.

    live well and prosper, eh, Spock?

    January 28, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. organic please

    GMO'S R THE REASON FOR THE UNKNOWN & ALL THE PESTICIDES AND HORMONES INJECTED IN ANIMALS EX. COWS, CHICKEN,

    January 29, 2012 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Opp

    I have genetically high cholesterol. I changed my diet instead of taking medications. Changing my diet has worked. I stopped eating anything with bad cholesterol and lowered my bad cholesterol thirty points in 10 days. I'm telling anyone with high cholesterol levels, stop eating meat, eggs yolks, and milk products. It works!.

    January 29, 2012 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. sam

    "They lacked a lot of the risk factors that we consider to be important in the development of atherosclerosis in modern populations—namely smoking, high rates of diabetes and obesity, and foods rich in trans fats," Miyamoto said.

    It has nothing to do with SMOKING..Here's Proof

    March 1, 2012 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.