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Adults can reverse risk of heart disease with healthy habits: Study

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A new study has revealed that adults can reverse the risk of heart diseases by adopting healthy habits.

According to researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, if people in their 30's and 40's refrain from unhealthy habits, potentially harmful to the heart, they can reverse the progress coronary artery disease.

Bonnie Spring, the lead investigator of the study and also a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, suggests that it is never too late to embrace healthy habits. Many people acquire habits that are potentially harmful to the heart. However, dropping unhealthy habits can still contribute towards a healthy heart.

The study suggests that the research included 5,000 participants from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA), a survey conducted by the Northwestern University. The study analyzed data collected from the participants when they were between the age of 18 and 30 and then 20 years later.

The researchers considered factors such as maintenance of healthy weight, being a non-smoker, appropriate physical activity, healthy eating habit and limited consumption of alcoholic drinks. Around 25 percent of the participants who adopted at least one healthy habit during the 20-year period reported to have reduced the chances of heart diseases.

However, around 40 percent of the participants dropped healthy lifestyle habits that impacted their coronary arteries. The researchers suggest that these people became more prone to heart diseases just by taking on unhealthy lifestyle habits.

"This finding is important because it helps to debunk two myths held by some health care professionals," says Spring. "The first is that it's nearly impossible to change patients' behaviors. Yet, we found that 25 percent of adults made healthy lifestyle changes on their own. The second myth is that the damage has already been done -- adulthood is too late for healthy lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of developing coronary artery disease. Clearly, that's incorrect. Adulthood is not too late for healthy behavior changes to help the heart."

Spring suggests that healthy lifestyle behaviors are achievable as well as sustainable even when a person reaches young adulthood. Spring also gives some tips on healthy habits such as just one drink per day for women and two for men, including fruits and vegetables in everyday diet, refrain from smoking and more can reduce the chances of heart diseases in people.

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