A healthy lifestyle combined with statins can increase life expectancy

A healthy lifestyle combined with statins can increase life expectancy

January 28, 2024

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Basic foods:

  • A healthy lifestyle combined with the use of statins can improve life expectancy.
  • High-risk adults who took statins with a “very healthy” lifestyle lived longer.

The combination of statin use and a healthy lifestyle was associated with a 30% lower risk of death from all causes and a 44% reduced risk of cardiovascular death in people at high cardiovascular risk compared to those not taking statins with an unhealthy lifestyle, the data showed.

“Previous studies have investigated the combined effects of preventive medication and multiple healthy lifestyles on health outcomes, but these studies did not target candidates for primary CVD prevention or were limited by outdated lifestyle data.” Jiapeng Lu, PhD, of the National Cardiovascular Disease Clinical Research Center, Beijing Fuwai Hospital, China, and colleagues wrote. “Our study extends existing research in several ways and has some potential clinical implications.”

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A healthy lifestyle combined with the use of statins can improve life expectancy.
Image: Adobe Stock

Lu and colleagues analyzed data from 265,209 adults aged 35 to 75 without a history of CVD from 2015 to 2021, all of whom were recruited by ChinaHEART, a public health project funded by the Chinese government to screen and management of individuals at high cardiovascular risk. Data on lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and diet were collected through questionnaire interviews. The researchers classified participants based on lifestyle factors as “very healthy,” “healthy,” or “unhealthy.” Participants also reported statin use from the previous 2 weeks. The researchers looked at the associations of statin use and healthy lifestyle with risk of all-cause mortality, with participants not taking a statin and having an unhealthy lifestyle as a reference group. Participants considered to be at high risk for CVD were included in joint analyzes of association of statin use with lifestyle. Individuals with low or moderate cardiovascular risk were included for comparison of life expectancy.

The findings were published in American Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Within the cohort, 16.2% were at high CVD risk, with the remainder at low or moderate CVD risk. Among high-risk subjects, 5.7% were taking a statin. 24.7% had an unhealthy lifestyle, 47.4% had a healthy lifestyle and 27.9% had a very healthy lifestyle.

During a median follow-up of 3.6 years, 6,979 participants died, including 3,236 from CV-related causes.

The researchers found that adults who reported taking statins as prescribed with a very healthy lifestyle had the lowest risk for all-cause mortality (HR = 0.7; 95% CI, 0.57-0.87) and mortality CV (HR = 0.56, 95% CI, 0.4 -0.79) compared with non-statin users with an unhealthy lifestyle. Those taking a statin but with an unhealthy lifestyle did not see a significant reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality or cardiovascular mortality. The results held in the analyzes stratified by gender.

High-risk participants taking statins and with very healthy lifestyles had the highest life gains, with a median of 5.9 years at age 35 (95% CI, 4.14-7.67; P 0.001) compared to high-risk non-statin users with an unhealthy lifestyle. In addition, those at high risk who took statins and had a very healthy lifestyle had a life expectancy comparable to those with a very healthy lifestyle without high risk.

“The combination of preventive medication use and adherence to multiple healthy lifestyles was significantly associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease, as well as notable benefits in life expectancy. These findings highlight the importance of combining preventive medication use and adherence to healthy lifestyles to reduce mortality risk and increase life expectancy for people at high risk of CVD.”

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