What are the secrets of avoiding a heart disease?
A data based approach using 2020 annual CDC survey data of 400k adults.
During our whole life, we are urged by doctors, parents and friends to promote a healthy lifestyle, in order to preserve vitality as well as physical and mental fitness into old age. Over the last hundreds and thousands of years, the average lifetime of humans strongly increased. While an average man in the United States lived until the age of 38 in 1870, nowadays this has been more than doubled to 78 years.
Researchers are spending millions of dollars to find ways of how we can even further extend lifespan. One of the most obvious ways to achieve that is to avoid life-threatening diseases from which we are suffering from in modern societes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is one of the most common causes of death for people of most races. So the big question is: How can we actually avoid a heart disease?
As described by the CDC, the dataset is based on the largest continuously conducted health survey system in the world which collects data from 400,000 adult U.S. residents each year. For this analysis we are focusing on 18 dimensions which are described below:
1. What are the main risk factors?
If we look at the features above we can see that there are several risk factors which we would all connect to a higher probability of getting a heart disease. If we now take a look at the correlation matrix focusing on the first row, there seems to be the following main risk factors: Age, Smoking, physical health including difficulties to walk and previous diseases such as Asthma, Stroke and Diabetic.
2. Is age a problem?
The simple answer to this question is Yes! If we take a look at the probability of a heart disease in relation to different age buckets we can clearly see that the older a person the higher the risk:
3. Can a healthy lifestyle beat age?
In the last step, we take a look if a healthy lifestyle pays off, especially if you are in the high risk group of people with age > 70 years. Based on this subgroup, two additional subsamples where created to differentiate if the person has a healthy lifestyle or not:
- Healthy lifestyle: In this group I have selected persons who are Non-Smokers, BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, good physical health condition with no problems to walk, no Diabetes (which indicates they have a healthy nutrition) and sleeping time between 6 and 10 hours.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle: This sample contains persons who are smokers, BMI of greater than 29.9, bad physical condition and difficulties to walk, have Diabetes and unregular sleeping times.
Looking at the numbers there are two main findings. First the group of “super” unhealthy persons is very small, i.e. it contains only 166 out of 76700. Second the subsample of old but healthy lifestyle persons has a 46% smaller heart disease probability compared to the unhealthy group and 8% smaller compared to the average.
In this article, we took a look at what are the main risk factors of getting a heart disease
- We saw that an unhealthy lifestyle, i.e. smoking bad physical health and poor nutrition is positive correlated with the probability of getting a heart disease.
- We saw that age is one of the main risk factors where persons older than 80 years have a 20% probability to suffer from a heart disease.
- Finally, we showed that a healthy lifestyle can beat age, as it reduces the probabilty of a heart disease by 46% compared to the unhealthy subsample.
The findings here are observational, not the result of a formal study. So the real question is:
How long you want to live?
To see more about this analysis, see the link to my Github available here.