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Are We Predisposed To A Longer Life?

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, November 24, 2008 1:32 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Centenarians, Long Life, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Living Well

Centenarians seems to inherit heart health and longevity.



IMAGE SOURCE: ©iStockphoto/ elderly man/ author: Saltov


A new study suggests that we may be genetically predisposed to a longer lifespan, despite being susceptible to a host of diseases. 

The study out of Boston University is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Researchers from the medical school followed 440 children of centenarians (who live to be 100 or more), and compared them to their peers for more than three years.

At the end of the study, the children of centenarians were found to be 78 percent less likely to have heart attacks. They were also 83 percent less likely to have strokes, and 86 percent less likely to developed diabetes than those who did not come from centenarians.

And the group was 81 percent less likely to die from any disease during the study period.

However they were just as likely to experience hypertension, arrhythmias, dementia, cancer, depression, and osteoporosis, among other diseases.


Heart Health

“The most dramatic difference we’ve seen among centenarian offspring, one that’s been consistent throughout the period we’ve been following them, is the decreased prevalence of heart disease and its risk factors,” said Dr. Dellara F. Terry, assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine to the New York Times.

What’s undetermined is whether genetics for a long life span or healthy habits led to the healthy aging. Dr. Terry believes it may be a combination of both.  

The study’s conclusion is that centenarian offspring may retain some important cardiovascular advantages over time over their peers and that longevity may have a physiological root with an added advantage of better cardiovascular health.

These results echo a study from Yeshiva University where off-spring of the long-lived parents had no strokes, half the risk of diabetes and 60 percent fewer heart attacks. 

A published study last February found men who maintain their healthy habits until middle age and beyond are most likely to make it to a ripe old age.

More than half of men in their early 70s with healthy habits lived until the age 90, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found.

The men with the greatest longevity were not obese, exercised two to four times a week, did not have diabetes or high blood pressure and did not smoke. 

As of the year 2000 there were 50,000 centenarians. By the year 2050, there are predicted to be 834,000 American centenarians.  #

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