Author of the study indicate that people who had obesity, hypertension, and diabetes by age 45 had heart failure 11 to 13 years earlier, on average, compared with people who had none of the risks by the same age. When people had only one or two risk factors, they developed heart failure three to 11 years earlier that people who had no such risk factors.
Faraz Ahmad, lead author for the study, said the study tells people they need to prevent or delay as much as possible the onset of such risk factors to significantly increase the number of years a person lives free of heart failure.
Ahmad, who is associated with Northwestern University, added that in the clinic, they often give patients metrics of risk that are relative and abstract. When they talk, however, to patients in their 30s and 40s, telling them they may have between 11 and 13 years of life before a heart attack unless they avoid the risk factors, that sends a much more powerful message.
The results could also help policymakers or public health practitioners more accurately predict the future prevalence of heart failure in America’s aging population, Ahmad added. According to the CDC, heart failure costs the US an estimated 32 billion dollars annually in health care services, medication and missed days of work.
The researchers plan to further investigate the data to determine whether the use of medications to control risk factors helps to delay the onset of heart failure. They also plan to assess whether there are any differences in the risk factor associations among different racial groups.