Introduction: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in old age, yet there is limited research on the patterns of cardiovascular risk factors that predict survival to 90 years.
Hypothesis: The patterns of cardiovascular risk factors that portend longevity will differ from those that confer low cardiovascular risk.
Methods: We examined repeated measures of blood pressure, LDL-cholesterol, and BMI from age 67 and survival to 90 years in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). CHS is a prospective study of 5,888 black and white adults in two waves (1989-90 and 1992-93) from Medicare eligibility lists in four counties in the U.S. We restricted to participants aged 67 to 75 years at baseline to control for birth cohort effects and examined repeated measures of cardiovascular risk factors throughout the late-life course. We fit logistic regression models to predict survival to age 90 using generalized estimating equations, and modeled the risk factors as linear, a linear spline, and clinically relevant categories. Models were adjusted for demographics and medication use, and we also examined whether the association of each risk factor with longevity varied by the age of risk factor measurement. Best fit models are presented.
Results: Among 3,645 participants in the birth cohort, 1,160 (31.8%) survived to 90 by June 16th, 2015. Higher systolic blood pressure in early old age was associated with reduced odds for longevity, but there was an interaction with age such that the association crossed the null at 80 years. (Table) Among those with LDL-cholesterol <130 mg/dL, higher LDL-cholesterol was associated with greater longevity; at levels above 130 mg/dL there was no association between LDL-cholesterol and longevity. BMI had a u-shaped association with longevity.
Conclusions: In summary, the patterns of risk factors that predict longevity differ from that considered to predict low cardiovascular risk. The risk of high systolic blood pressure appears to depend on the age of blood pressure measurement.