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A recent study confirmed what we probably all already know: Women who don’t smoke, have a body mass index lower than 25, exercise at least 30 minutes a day and eat a Mediterranean-style diet have a significantly lower risk of sudden cardiac death.

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In the Nurses’ Cohort Study that followed 81,722 women from 1984 to 2010, questionnaires were assessed every 2 to 4 years. The Mediterranean diet includes a high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and moderate alcohol. The study found an inverse association between all 4 low-risk lifestyle factors and a lower risk of sudden cardiac death. Women at low risk for all 4 lifestyle factors had a 92% lower risk of sudden cardiac death than women at low risk for none of the lifestyle factors.

Commentary: Researchers commented that 79% of sudden cardiac death may be due to unhealthy lifestyle practices in women who do not have a diagnosis of coronary heart disease. Sudden cardiac death causes more than 50% of all the cardiac deaths and is occurs more often in women. These study results will hopefully motivate us to live healthier lifestyles.

Reference

Chiuve S, Fung T, Rexrode K, et al. Adherence to a low-risk, healthy lifestyle and risk of sudden cardiac death among women. JAMA 2011;306(1):62-69.

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