Optimal Levels of All Major Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Younger Age and Functional Disability in Older Age: The Chicago Heart Association Detection Project in Industry 32-Year Follow-Up Health Survey

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The associations of optimal levels of all major cardiovascular disease risk factors, that is, low risk, in younger age with subsequent cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality have been well documented. However, little is known about associations of low-risk profiles in younger age with functional disability in older age.

Methods and Results—

The sample included 6014 participants from the Chicago Heart Association Detection Project in Industry Study. Low-risk status, defined as untreated systolic/diastolic blood pressure ≤120/≤80 mm Hg, untreated serum total cholesterol <5.18 mmol/l, not smoking, body mass index < 25 kg/m2, and no diabetes mellitus, was assessed at baseline (1967 to 1973). Functional disability, categorized as (1) any disability in activities of daily living (ADLs), (2) any disability in instrumental ADLs but not in ADL, or (3) no disability, was assessed from the 2003 health survey. There were 39% women, 4% Black, with a mean age of 43 years and 6% low-risk status at baseline. After 32 years, 7% reported having limitations in performing any ADL and 11% in any instrumental ADL only. The prevalence of any ADL limitation was lowest in low-risk people and increased in a graded fashion with less-favorable risk factor groups (P trend <0.001). Compared with those with 2+ high-risk factors, the multivariable-adjusted odds of having any disability in ADLs versus no disability in people with low risk, any moderate risk, and 1 high-risk factor at baseline were lower by 58%, 48%, and 37%, respectively. Results were similar for instrumental ADLs, in both men and women.


Having an optimal cardiovascular disease risk factor profile at younger age is associated with the lowest rate of functional disability in older age.

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