Health outcomes in older people with near ideal cardiovascular risk factors

It is well established that individuals with near ideal cardiovascular risk factor profiles experience lower rates of cardiovascular diseases, but associations with health in old age are unclear. In the largest study of its kind we examined 421,411 older adults, aged 60 to 69 years, with near-ideal cardiovascular risk factor profiles from population representative medical records (Clinical Practice Research Datalink) and health volunteers (UK Biobank study). We analysed six cardiovascular risk factors: uncontrolled high blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, plus being overweight, low physical activity and being a current smoker, in relation to a number of ageing-related adverse health outcomes. Individuals with near ideal cardiovascular risks had a substantially lower risk of a number of conditions including less chronic pain, lower incidence of incontinence, falls, fagility fractures and dementia. Frailty was also 85% less likely in those with near ideal cardiovascular risk factors. Optimising cardiovascular disease risk factors may therefore substantially reduce the burden of morbidity in later life and help to prevent frailty.

This work was supported by the Medical Research Council.


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Scientific papers:

Atkins JL, Delgado J, Pilling LC, Bowman K, Masoli, JAH, Kuchel GA, Ferrucci L, Melzer D. Impact of Low Cardiovascular Risk Profiles on Geriatric Outcomes: Evidence from 421,000 Participants in Two Cohorts. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 May 21. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gly083. PMID: 29982474