A poster presented at the American Heart Association scientific sessions (poster #Mo3058) on November 16, 2019, shows that the risk factors for a heart attack are also risk factors for many cancers:
• People who are at 20 percent increased risk for suffering a heart attack in 10 years are three times more likely to develop cancer in 10 years.
• Those who develop a heart attack, heart failure or atrial fibrillation are seven times more likely to develop a cancer.
• Those with high levels of BNP (brain natriuretic peptide, a biomarker for heart failure (Am Fam Physician, 2006 Dec 1;74(11):1893-1900), are also at increased risk for developing cancer.
Heart disease and many cancers share many of the same risk factors, such as:
• not exercising
• not eating lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and nuts
• eating a lot of pro-inflammatory foods
• taking more than two alcoholic drinks a day, or any binge drinking
• storing excess fat in the belly
• having high blood pressure (systolic greater than 120 at bedtime)
• being diabetic
• having high LDL cholesterol (J Clin Oncol, 2011;29(12):1592–1598)
These lifestyle factors determine to a large degree whether you go on to develop cancers or a heart attack, and the younger you start a healthful lifestyle, the lower your risk.