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Heart Beat: What's after age 50?

Updated: July 01, 2006

Heart Beat

What's after age 50?

Oh, to be 50 again — and this time without high cholesterol, high blood pressure, bad genes, or other heart disease risks.

According to the Framingham Heart Study's crystal ball, heart-healthy 50-year-olds see in their futures little heart disease and longer lives than their counterparts with high blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors. Framingham researchers tracked the health of almost 8,000 men and women free of heart disease at age 50 to their deaths or age 95. In the small group of participants who didn't smoke, weren't overweight, and didn't have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, less than 10% developed heart disease by age 75, and they lived 8–11 years longer than their less healthy counterparts. Diabetes was the single biggest risk factor for developing heart disease — 67% of men and 57% of women with diabetes at age 50 had heart disease by age 75.

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