Sleep duration is an under recognized factor in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. W.M. Monique Verschuren, from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (The Netherlands), and colleagues analyzed data collected in the MORGEN study, a prospective cohort study involving 8,128 men and 9,759 women, ages 20-65 years, who did not have cardiovascular disease at the study’s start. The team found that subjects who adhered to a regimen of sufficient physical activity, a healthy diet, limited alcohol intake, and no smoking were at 57% reduced risk of a composite of CVD, and a 67% reduced risk of fatal CVD, compared with those who adhered to none or one lifestyle factor. When a good night's sleep (more than 7 hours) was added to those traditional factors, the risk of CVD and of fatal CVD decreased even further -- 65% and 83%, respectively, the team observed that achieving sufficient sleep duration without any of the four traditional lifestyle factors had a positive impact on risk reduction -- 22% reduced risk of CVD and 43% reduction in fatal CVD. Writing that: “Sufficient sleep and adherence to all four traditional healthy lifestyle factors was associated with lower [cardiovascular disease] risk,” the study authors conclude that: “When sufficient sleep duration was added to the traditional lifestyle factors, the risk of [cardiovascular disease] as further reduced.”
Hoevenaar-Blom MP, Spijkerman AM, Kromhout D, Verschuren WM. “Sufficient sleep duration contributes to lower cardiovascular disease risk in addition to four traditional lifestyle factors: the MORGEN study.” Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2013 Jul 3.
Good sleep habits, physical activity, a healthy diet, limited alcohol intake, and no smoking, may significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.
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Tip #192 - Stay Connected
Researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) report that social isolation may be detrimental to both mental and physical health. The team analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, a nationwide US study involving 3,000 men and women, ages 57 to 85 years. They arrived at three key findings regarding the relationships between health and different types of isolation:
• The researchers found that the most socially connected older adults are three times as likely to report very good or excellent health compared to those who are least connected, regardless of whether they feel isolated.
• The team found that older adults who feel least isolated are five times as likely to report very good or excellent health as those who feel most isolated, regardless of their actual level of social connectedness.
• They determined that social disconnectedness is not related to mental health unless it brings feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Separately, Rush University Medical Center (Illinois, USA) researchers studied 906 older men and women, testing their motor functions (including grip, pinch strength, balance, and walking) and surveying their social activity, for a period of 5 years. Those study participants with less social activity were found to have a more rapid rate of motor function decline. Specifically, the team found that every one-point decrease in social activity corresponded to an increase in functional aging of 5 years, translating to a 40% higher risk of death and 65% higher risk of disability.