Certain risk factors in middle age might indicate heart attack, stroke later on

Kevin Magna

January 26, 2012

Researchers find possible repairing mechanisms for heart attack victimsNearly 1.1 million Americans suffer a heart attack annually – 460,000 of these attacks are fatal, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute reports. Although this news is scary, a new study finds that certain risk factors by middle age might predict who is at a greater risk for having a heart attack or a stroke.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 18 studies regarding heart health and honed in on certain age groups to see if risk in middle age would predict cardiovascular issues as the people reached senior status. Researchers looked at 250,000 participants age 44, 55, 65, and 75 and checked each for potential risks including high blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as if they smoked or had diabetes.

From the results, they found that people who had at least two of these risk factors were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke by the time they were 80. Men age 55 with two or more risk factors were 30 percent more likely to have an issue, and women of the same age were 21 percent more likely.

These findings were then compared to people without any risk factors of the same age. Men in this group had a 4.7 percent chance of having a heart attack or stroke, while women had a 6.4 percent likelihood.

Seniors living alone with certain risk factors might suffer a stroke or heart attack with no one around, which can reduce their chances of survival. Elders may benefit from installing senior alert systems in their homes, as these wearable devices contact emergency personnel with a push of a button.