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A new study has found that increasing your Life’s Essential 8 score can lower the risk of developing heart disease. This research, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that individuals with a family history of cardiovascular disease decreased their risk by two times compared to those without a genetic risk factor. Taking care of cardiovascular health was also linked to a slowing down of the biological aging process, with heart-healthy behaviors potentially reversing the aging process in cells. Researchers analyzed data from 5,682 adults as part of a multigenerational study looking at risk factors for heart disease, using the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 tool to assess cardiovascular health.

According to the study findings, each 13-point increase in the Life’s Essential 8 score was associated with a 35% reduction in the risk of new-onset cardiovascular disease, a 36% reduction in cardiovascular disease, and a 29% reduction in the risk of death from any cause. Participants with a higher risk of accelerated aging saw the most beneficial results in terms of DNA methylation. Individuals with a higher genetic risk of accelerated aging had a significant association between their Life’s Essential 8 score and cardiovascular health. The study followed participants for 11 to 14 years, monitoring for new-onset heart disease, cardiovascular death, or death from any cause.

Experts emphasize the importance of making lifestyle changes as the first step in controlling cardiovascular disease. While the study did not specify how participants improved their cardiovascular health, natural improvements through lifestyle changes are generally preferred. It is important to understand the role of lifestyle factors in changing DNA and the impact of genetic predisposition on cardiovascular health. Medical professionals recommend that lifestyle changes should be the baseline for improving cardiovascular health, with medication being considered in cases where lifestyle factors are not effective.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of mortality and disabilities worldwide, highlighting the importance of early treatment and prevention. Maintaining good cardiovascular health may alter DNA methylation, a key process that affects cellular aging and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Early warning signs of heart problems include chest pain, pressure, tightness, irregular heartbeat, fainting episodes, shortness of breath, fatigue, and leg swelling. It is essential to pay attention to these symptoms and seek medical attention if they are limiting daily activities or causing discomfort. By focusing on heart-healthy behaviors, managing risk factors, and staying vigilant for warning signs, individuals can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and improve overall health.

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