Thwarting Major Killers/Saving Hearts That Grow Old; The Quest to Beat Aging; Scientific American Presents; by Delia K. Cabe; 5 Page(s)
Blood vessels are built to last. Up to about 100 years, some experts say, under normal wear and tear. For that to happen, you not only have to abide by a heart-healthy lifestyle-low-fat diet, weight in check, exercise, stress management, blood pressure control, good cholesterol numbers, moderate alcohol use, no smoking-but you also should be a woman, have the right genes and age slowly.
Cut to reality: we're not perfect. Our blood vessels endure various assaults because of factors only some of which we can control. We get heart disease-some 14 million Americans have it, and 500,000 die from heart attacks annually. The older we get, the more likely it is we'll end up with it. The proof is in the numbers: heart disease affects an estimated 15 percent of adults in their late 30s to early 40s, about 50 percent of 55-to 64-year-olds, and 65 percent of those in the next decade. Obviously, many of us slept through Heart Disease Prevention 101.