A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), analyzed the correlations between four prominent cardiovascular risk factors – smoking, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and type 2 diabetes – and peripheral artery disease (PAD). The research looked at 44,985 U.S. men with a history of cardiovascular disease from 1986 to 2011, during which time the study authors conducted exams every two years to assess subjects’ risk factors.
During follow-up visits 24.2 years into the study, there were 537 cases of PAD reported. The research, which was conducted by Michel M. Joosten, Ph.D., of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, found that each risk factor played an independent role in increasing the chance of PAD developing in the men, whereas the subjects who did not have any of the four risk factors were 77 percent less likely to develop the ailment. Also, at least one of the four risk factors was present in 96 percent of the cases of PAD.
The results also showed that men with hypertension who treated it with one or more antihypertensive drugs were at a greater risk of developing PAD, compared to those with hypertension who did not take any antihypertensive drugs.
Preventing cardiovascular risk factors
According to the Mayo Clinic, infrequent exercise and obesity can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. High blood pressure is also a result of stress, genetics and smoking, reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Mayo Clinic recommends getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day in order to reduce blood pressure. This can include anything from swimming, bicycling and jogging to everyday activities like taking the stairs and doing household chores like scrubbing the floor, mowing the lawn or raking leaves.
Age also plays a factor in developing type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. This may be attributed to people exercising less, losing muscle mass and gaining weight as they get older. Family history can also put one at risk, especially if an immediate relative is diabetic.
According to the University of Maryland (UMD), research has shown that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help keep cholesterol levels in check and lower blood pressure. They can also lower the levels of triglycerides and apoproteins, which are markers of diabetes. You can get omega-3s from flax seeds, hemp milk or an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.