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How to shave 10 years off your life: Have high cholesterol, be hypertensive, and smoke.

Researchers have taken another look at the famous Whitehall study of over 18,000 middle-aged London men and found that a single measurement of three factors predicted mortality better than any other measures. Those with the three risk factors, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, had three times the risk of death from cardiovascular problems and a life expectancy that was ten years shorter than those without the three risk factors. The men were examined in 1967-1970 and followed for 38 years. The 4811 surviving subjects were reexamined in 1997.

Dr Robert Clarke (University of Oxford, UK) and colleagues report their findings online September 17, 2009 in BMJ. And when they used more extreme categorization of risk factors, including body-mass index (BMI), diabetes mellitus/glucose intolerance, and employment grade, life expectancy differed by up to 15 years.

Clarke says there has been uncertainty about the limits of life expectancy and the relevance of cardiovascular risk factors for its prediction. “What is unique about this study is the prolonged follow-up; it enables us to put a figure on the life-limiting effects of these risk factors,” he told heartwire.

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(image credit: Flickr user Thomas Hawk)

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by mrmunchies.

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September 29th, 2009

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Stranger to the World

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