Middle-aged people who are overweight, smoke and have raised blood pressure and high cholesterol will die on average 15 years sooner than those without such problems, research suggests.
A study of 19,000 men has calculated the impact of different risk factors on life expectancy, and how many years are lost once a person is past the age of 50.
It concludes that a combination of smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure reduces life expectancy by ten years, while those with other added health worries, such as being overweight, may die 15 years earlier.
The research, published online in the British Medical Journal, comes as a report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the health regulator, suggests greater efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease. The chances of dying from the disease, which is a group of conditions affecting the heart, arteries or blood vessels, is increased by problems such as obesity, smoking and raised cholesterol. Britain remains one of the worst countries in Europe for cardiovascular disease, with more than 200,000 deaths annually.