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One Way to Predict How Long You'll Live
It's only human to wonder how long you have to be on this Earth. British researchers say the answer may be as close as your parents. If your parents lived to be in their 70s, you and your siblings are far less likely to die of heart disease--the No. 1 killer--in your 70s.

Heart disease is a bigger killer than cancer. Here are five must-know numbers for your heart health.

The study: Led by Luke Pilling, a research fellow in epidemiology and public health at the University of Exeter Medical School, the team was curious as to why some people develop potentially fatal heart conditions in their 60s and others do not. To this end, they tracked more than 186,000 Brits ages 55 to 73, all of whom had parents who had already died. During the eight-year study period, 4,700 of the participants died.

The results:

  • For each parent who lived beyond 70 years of age, their children had a 20 percent lower chance of dying from heart disease.

  • In addition, these children had lower rates of vascular disease, heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

  • The link between parents who lived past age 70 and their heart-healthier children held even after the researchers adjusted the findings for such factors as education, age, weight and physical activity.

What does this mean for you? If your parents lived to be in their 80s or 90s, you do not have permission to turn into a couch potato who stuffs himself with chips and ice cream. On the other hand, if your parents died at a young age, you can help reverse that family trend by caring for your health with regular exercise and a heart-healthy diet.

Heart Rx: Find out how to cut your heart attack risk in half!

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