According to this article, it's not too late to change your lifestyle if you're under 40 and reap the benefits:
A crap diet, excessive drinking, a couch potato lifestyle, and any amount of smoking can all contribute to heart disease. But if you've indulged in your fair share of boozy brunches and drive-thru meals, we've got reassuring news: As long as you kick the bad habit and adopt a healthier routine by the time you reach your 40s, any harm done to your heart can likely be limited or even reversed, according to a new study published in the journal Circulation.
Researchers took a look at the lifestyle habits of 5,115 participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a long-term study that examined young adults between 18 and 30 and then reexamined them 20 years later. The healthy habits the research team singled out were being at a healthy weight, being a nonsmoker, getting regular physical activity, having a low alcohol intake, and eating a healthy diet.
At the start of the study, when the participants were the youngest, less than 10 percent reported all of the healthy behaviors. But 20 years later, about 25 percent of the participants had added at least one healthy habit. Each additional good-for-you habit was associated with a lower likelihood of coronary artery calcification and thickening—two indications of heart disease. On the flip side, the researchers discovered that study subjects who racked up more bad habits (as 40 percent of the participants did) were more likely to show signs of heart disease.
The study results suggest two things. First, it's not too late for most adults to give up excess drinking, smoking, or other unhealthy habits; doing so even moderately will score you benefits. In particular, ditching cigarettes and maintaining a healthy weight appeared to have the most impact on decreasing heart disease risk, the researchers wrote. Plus, it demonstrates that adult behavior can change, and that there are actionable steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease. Need inspiration to pull yourself out of an unhealthy routine? Read these tips to outsmart your bad habits.