Lifestyle Again!

Once again, two studies published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association,
Relation Between Modifiable Lifestyle Factors and Lifetime Risk of Heart Failure and Diet and Lifestyle Risk Factors Associated With Incident Hypertension in Women establish that staying physically active, not smoking, choosing your food carefully, and avoiding weight gain are keys to a longer, healthier life. And then there's my personal favorite, judicious consumption of alcohol. Duh.

In women, these actions or inactions lessened the chance for developing high blood pressure, with its consequent risk of stroke and other cardiovascular problems. The data came from a huge, long term study called the Nurses Health Study. And in data gathered from the Physicians Health Study, a huge study of male doctors, reduced the risk for heart failure, a major killer of older folks.

Yawn. Unless you've been living under a slimy rock, you know all this. But there were a couple of newer observations from each study: in the nurses, frequent use of non-steroidal antiinflammatory medications, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen, increased the risk of developing high blood pressure. And folic acid, a B vitamin, reduced the risk.

In the heart failure study, consumption of breakfast cereal emerged as a protective factor. I would love to see this broken down further, since I question whether Cap'n Crunch confers the same benefit as Cheerios. In any case, the take home messages are clear:

Exercise, don't gain weight, don't smoke, eat a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in salt, consume alcohol moderately, use over the counter pain relievers as infrequently as possible, and eat breakfast cereals. Since many of these are fortified with folic acid already, that may help satisfy that condition as well.

What's abundantly clear from all of this is the final message: You can take charge of your own health. Both titles include the word 'lifestyle.' Clearly, your lifestyle choices are your own. And as Rick always signs out, "Y'all live well."

Other topics this week include CSF Biomarkers and Incipient Alzheimer Disease in Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment, also from JAMA, and from NEJM Peginterferon Alfa-2b or Alfa-2a with Ribavirin for Treatment of Hepatitis C .

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Carly September 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Real brain power on display. Thanks for that asnwer!

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KARMINA August 3, 2009 at 10:00 am

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