Are you doing your best to live a heart-healthy lifestyle? If so, you have a lower chance of developing cancer, too. A study by the American Heart Association (AHA) found that people practicing healthy heart habits had a significantly lower chance of developing cancer—a 38-percent lower risk, to be exact.
“This is great news for all of us,” says A. Marc Gillinov, MD, cardiac surgeon in Cleveland Clinic’s Heart & Vascular Institute. “Research continues to confirm that you can control your health. By following a few simple strategies, we can dramatically reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.”
Heart disease and cancer are the top two causes of death for people in the United States. For a long time, it has been known that healthy behaviors are good for our overall health, but knowing that there is a relation between heart and cancer risk factors is novel.
The study by AHA spanned 13 years and followed more than 13,000 healthy individuals. Participants were measured using the seven heart health “metrics” and were tracked for any cancer that developed during that time. Researchers found that the more “ideal” metric factors people had, the less likely they were to develop cancer.
Compared to people who had none of the seven factors, having just one reduced the risk of cancer by 20 percent. Three factors lowered the risk of cancer by 22 percent; and five to seven pushed the risk down 38 percent. According to AHA, these are the seven metrics for heart health – and now we know, these same metrics make it less likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
Speaking at a recent AHA event, physicians were hopeful that their patients would be even more motivated to live healthy if they knew they could avoid heart disease and cancer at the same time.
Dr. Gillinov adds, “Incorporating these seven strategies into your life will make you feel better and live longer.”