Overall, researchers found that over a third (34%) of the mummies showed signs of probable or definite atherosclerosis. As with modern populations, older people seemed more likely to show signs of the disease.
Atherosclerosis is usually considered to be linked to risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise. However, the researchers suggest that these findings may support the idea of a predisposition to the disease.
“However, we simply don’t know enough about the diet and lifestyle of the people studied to say whether behaviour or genetics lies at the root of the heart problems observed.
“We can’t change the past, but lifestyle choices can help to affect our future. By eating well, quitting smoking and keeping active, you can help to protect your heart.”
Issued in response to: “Atherosclerosis across 4000 years of human history: the Horus study of four ancient populations”,
Randall C Thompson et al.
Published in The Lancet.
Source: British Heart Foundation