No matter how many medications you take, eating a healthy diet, not smoking and getting plenty of exercise will help keep you alive, a new study finds.
“We’ve long known about the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle. The results from our study underscore the importance of each person’s ability to improve their health through lifestyle changes even if they are dealing with multiple health issues and taking multiple prescription medications,” said researcher Neil Kelly. He’s a medical student at Weill Cornell Medicine of Cornell University in New York City.
For the study, Kelly’s team collected data on more than 20,000 people who took part in a study on racial differences in stroke.
At the start of the study, 44% of participants were taking four or fewer prescription medications, 39% were taking five to nine, and 17% were taking 10 or more medications.
After about 10 years, the researchers found that a healthy lifestyle reduced the risk of death during the study period regardless of the number of medications a person was taking, and the more healthy lifestyle habits one had, the lower the risk of death.
The findings were scheduled for presentation at the American Heart Association’s virtual annual meeting, Nov. 13 to 17. Such research should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
“It’s especially important for health care professionals to counsel patients and develop interventions that can maximize healthy lifestyle behaviors, even among patients with several prescription medications,” Kelly said in an AHA news release.
“It’s important for the public to understand that there is never a bad time to adopt healthy behaviors. These can range from eating a healthier diet to taking a daily walk in their neighborhood,” he added. “A healthier lifestyle buys more time.”
For more on a healthy lifestyle, head to the American Heart Association.
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