In a new study, researchers found that about 2 million cases of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure might be prevented each year if U.S. adults had high heart health as defined by a set of seven metrics.
Even modest improvements in the population’s overall heart health could make a significant dent in the number of heart disease cases.
These Life’s Simple 7 metrics, which the American Heart Association first identified in 2010, are smoking status, physical activity, weight, diet, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Experts say they are the key risk factors people can improve through changes in lifestyle and behavior.
The research was conducted by a team at Tulane University in New Orleans.
In the study, researchers assigned scores to 11,696 people who participated in three national health and nutrition surveys from 2011 to 2016.
The participants were rated on each metric with 0 for poor, 1 for intermediate, or 2 for the ideal. Their total scores determined whether they had high, moderate, or low cardiovascular health.
The results showed that just 7.3% of the participants reached the highest health scores; 34.2% had a moderate score, and 58.5% had the lowest scores.
Separately, researchers used data from 30,477 people in seven community-based studies to estimate the rates of heart disease, stroke and heart failure cases that occur in each of the three health score categories.
They found that up to 2 million cardiovascular events – or 70% of the yearly total – could be prevented if all people in the low and moderate groups achieved high scores.
About 1.2 million events, or 42%, could be avoided if the low group moved up to the moderate group.
The team says these seven metrics can all be improved, which would save billions and billions of dollars, millions of lives and completely change the health care system.
Encouraging people to focus on their cardiovascular health early in life is key.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. One author of the study is Joshua Bundy, an epidemiologist.
Copyright © 2021 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.