Are your parents in their eighties and going strong? Chances are you too will live long. According to a new study, having longer-lived parents means you are more likely to stay healthy in your sixties and seventies.
The study involving 190,000 participants found that our chances of survival increase by 17 per cent for each decade that at least one parent lives beyond the age of 70.
Researchers found evidence showing for the first time that knowing the age at which your parents died could help predict your risk not only of heart disease, but many aspects of heart and circulatory health.
“To our knowledge, this is the largest study to show that the longer your parents live, the more likely you are to remain healthy in your sixties and seventies,” said Janice Atkins from University of Exeter in the UK.
“Asking about parents’ longevity could help us predict our likelihood of ageing well and developing conditions such as heart disease, in order to identify patients at higher or lower risk in time to treat them appropriately,” said Atkins.
Researchers used data on the health of 186,000 middle-aged offspring, aged 55 to 73 years, followed over a period of up to eight years.
They found that those with longer lived parents had lower incidence of multiple circulatory conditions including heart disease, heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and atrial fibrillation.
For example, the risk of death from heart disease was 20 per cent lower for each decade that at least one parent lived beyond the age of 70 years.
In addition, those with longer lived parents also had reduced risk of cancer; seven per cent reduced likelihood of cancer in the follow-up per longer-lived parent.
The study built on previous findings which established a genetic link between parents’ longevity and heart disease risk.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.