Coronary artery disease, or atherosclerosis, which is caused by plaque buildup in the wall of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, is the most common type of heart disease. A high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, diabetes, smoking, overweight, unhealthy diet, stress and lack of physical activity are some of the risk factors for coronary artery disease. An estimated 15 million American adults have coronary heart disease, also called coronary artery disease.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, in the United States, coronary artery disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women - killing about 370,000 Americans every year.
A study of Tsimane (pronounced chee-mah-nay), an indigenous population in the lowlands of Bolivia's Amazon basin has found that the Tsimane people have the world's healthiest arteries.
The study, conducted between July 2, 2014, and Sept 10, 2015, involved 705 Tsimane adults, aged 40 years or older. Coronary atherosclerosis was assessed by measuring their heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and inflammation. The researchers found that 85% out of the 705 Tsimane people surveyed had no risk of heart disease and only 3% were at moderate or high risk.
Among the Tsimane people older than age 75 years, 65% had no risk of heart disease, and only 8% were at moderate or high risk.
The findings were compared with another study that involved 6,814 participants, aged 45-84, from six communities in the United States.
A comparison of the findings of the two studies suggests that there is a five-fold lower prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis among the Tsimane people than in the U.S. population.
But that's not all...
The study says that an 80-year-old from the Tsimane society has the same vascular age as an American in their mid-50s.
The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health; St Luke's Hospital of Kansas City; and Paleocardiology Foundation.
The Tsimane's active lifestyle and diet are to be credited for their healthy hearts, say the researchers.
The Tsimane's diet is low in meat and fats and high in foods such as rice, plantains, wild game and fish. Only very few smoke and consume moderate amounts of alcohol in the form of fermented manioc and maize. Their daily physical activities involve subsistence hunting, fishing and slash and burn farming, which are physically demanding.
The study findings are published in The Lancet.
by RTT Staff Writer
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