Lifestyle, Cardiovascular Drugs and Risk Factors in Younger and Elder Adults: The PEP Family Heart Study

Peter Schwandt, Evelyn Liepold, Thomas Bertsch, Gerda Maria Haas



Objectives: This study aimed to compare cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, lifestyle habits and pharmacological treatment in two groups of elder adults with 20 years difference in their mean age. 

Methods: This study comprised 590 women including two groups with mean age of 42.4±5.5 vs. 66.5±4.0 years, and 486 men of two groups with mean age of 44.1±5.6 vs. 63.9±7.0 years. Data on physical examination, fasting blood analyses, 7-day dietary records, physical activity, smoking and actual medication use were recorded.

Results: Compared with younger individuals, seniors had a more adverse risk factor profile in terms of abdominal obesity, overweight, hyperglycemia, hypertension, dyslipoproteinemia without differences in HDL-C. But this is not reflected by lifestyle behavior. Less than 2% of the elderly and 17% of the younger adults were current smoker. Furthermore, the pattern of physical activity was different in terms of more continuous sports in seniors contrasting with extremes between no sports and more than twice a week in the younger group. Seniors consumed significantly less carbohydrates including more monosaccharide and less polysaccharides, more alcohol and water. The intake of fat and protein was higher in elder women than in all other groups. One third of seniors took antihypertensive medications and 12% used lipid modifying drugs.

Conclusions: Different levels of prevention against CVDs and their risk factors shall be considered for various age groups of population. The findings of this study emphasize on the necessity of preventive measures against smoking and physical inactivity in younger adults and dietary habits in seniors.

Keywords: Prevention; Cardiovascular disease; Ageing; Lifestyle habits; Germany


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