Now, you have seven healthy measures that can help you keep your heart safe and sound. People scoring well on the American Heart Association’s ‘Life’s Simple 7’ checklist for a healthy heart are less likely to develop heart failure, a condition that reduces blood and oxygen flow to the body, according to new Boston University research.
Life’s Simple 7 encompasses seven measures that people can use to rate their heart health and take steps to improve it. The measures are: manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, reduce blood sugar, get physically active, eat better, lose weight and stop smoking.
Researchers analyzed data from the Framingham Offspring Study. To evaluate the association between the Simple 7 and heart failure, they followed 3,201 participants, average age 59, for up to 12.3 years. During that time, 188 participants developed heart failure.
Researchers found for each one-point higher cardiovascular health score, there was a 23 percent lower risk of developing heart failure. Those scoring in the middle third cut their risk of heart failure nearly in half compared to those in the bottom third. Those in the top third reduced their risk even further.
Senior author Vanessa Xanthakis said that this study points to the importance of knowing your numbers and speaking to your doctor about improving your score on each health metric and trying to get as close to ideal status as possible.
Authors noted two limitations of the study: most participants were white and of European ancestry, and their Life’s Simple 7 score was assessed only once, at the beginning of the study.
Lead author Matthew Nayor said that this is a useful metric for a healthy lifestyle that may not only help you reduce your chances of heart attack and stroke, but also of developing heart failure in the future.
The study appears in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Heart Failure.