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J Clin Epidemiol. 2004 Apr;57(4):415-21.

A follow-up study found that cardiovascular risk in middle age predicted mortality and quality of life in old age.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Geriatric Clinic, University of Helsinki, Haartmaninkatu 4, FIN-00029 Helsinki, Finland.



Cardiovascular risk reduction, while saving lives, may prolong the time with disability and impair the quality of life in survivors. We compared the consequences of middle age cardiovascular risk in old age.


In 1974, risk was low in 593 (low-risk group) and high in 610 men (high-risk group). At baseline, all were healthy with similar age and socioeconomic status. Lifestyle and clinical factors, including quality of life (RAND-36), were surveyed with a questionnaire in 2000, and mortality was determined up to 2002.


During the follow-up, 303 men died, with mortality 54% higher in the high-risk group (P=.001). In the 2000 survey, high-risk men still had significantly greater BMI, higher blood glucose, higher prevalence of smoking, and more sedentary lifestyle, and they reported more both cardiovascular and noncardiovascular diseases. All the RAND-36 scales were worse in the high-risk group; of the two component summary scores, physical (PCS), but not mental (MCS) score, was significantly lower in the high-risk group.


Low cardiovascular risk in middle age was associated with lower mortality, morbidity, and better quality of life in old age 26 years later. The results may support the theory of compression of morbidity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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