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by Robert MacKay, Thursday, September 24, 2009 | Categories: Cholesterol | Mens Health | Smoking

Scientists have warned that men with high cholesterol and those who smoke may be risking their life span being cut short by ten years compared to their healthy counterparts.

The study, which was based in the UK, showed that men with unhealthy lifestyles could be seriously curtailing their life expectancy. The researchers from Oxford University examined data taken from 19,000 civil servants aged between 40 and 69 and then followed them to discover what happened to them over 30 years later.

They discovered that there were three risk factors that had a serious impact on how long they lived, which were: high blood pressure; high cholesterol; and whether or not they smoked. All three are strongly associated with the lifestyle choices people make, as both high cholesterol and high blood pressure are often caused by an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.

Published in the British Medical Journal, the study was originally set up in the late 1960s, a period when vascular heart disease was rife. The civil servants had their heaight, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose measures taken and were then asked about their lifestyle and medical history.

When they were traced in 2005, 13,501 of the volunteers had died. The scientists discovered that there was a 15 year life expectancy difference between the 5% with the lowest risk factors and the 5% with the highest risk factors.

The team said that their findings showed that men aged 50 with the three risk factors could expect to live to 74, which those with no risk factors were likely to survive until 83. They added that men who took steps to reduce the risk factors in their life, by attempting to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol and stop smoking, could expect to significantly prolong their lives.

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