Targeting cardiovascular disease risk factors crucial throughout life, study suggests
Work to prevent risk factors is especially important for patients over 65 years old. However, health care professionals and patients of all ages should be mindful of cardiovascular disease risk factors, which can affect anyone.
The Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study evaluated stroke incidence among an estimated 30,000 people.
“As life expectancy continues to increase, we need to improve risk factor prevention and management for stroke and heart disease across the lifespan, including those adults over the age of 65,” Dr. Claudia Moy, acting director of the Office of Clinical Research at NINDS and coauthor of the study, said. “The latest findings from the REGARDS study reveal that no age group is immune to risk factors related to cardiovascular disease and that prevention efforts should target all adults.”
Over a decade, researchers studied individuals to watch whether they developed heart disease or stroke risk factors. The targeted factors in the study were diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and high cholesterol. Smoking was also a significant risk factor.
Results show that developing cardiovascular disease risk factors continues to be likely among adults who are more than 65 years old.
“In addition to improving treatment and control of potent risk factors for stroke and heart disease, finding ways to prevent development of those risk factors may be a potential strategy to lower rates of cardiovascular disease across the age span, but especially in black Americans,” Moy said.