Doing these 8 things may greatly lower risk for heart disease and stroke

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In a study from Tulane University, scientists found that people who strongly adhere to a set of eight lifestyle behaviors and heart-health metrics may have a lower risk for coronary heart disease and stroke than those who don’t.

The effect is especially strong in women, younger adults and people with a lower genetic predisposition to heart disease.

The study also found that adhering to Life’s Essential 8 – key measures identified by the American Heart Association to improve and maintain good cardiovascular health – was better at predicting heart risks than Life’s Simple 7, an earlier set of heart-health metrics that did not include sleep.

In the study, researchers used data from the UK Biobank to score 137,794 adults who were free of cardiovascular disease on how well they adhered to Life’s Essential 8.

Using a 100-point scale, scores were grouped into low, moderate or high adherence. Participants were almost evenly split between men and women and were an average of 55 years old.

The team found after 10 years of follow-up, those with high adherence scores had a 66% lower risk for coronary heart disease, 55% lower risk for stroke, and 64% lower risk for heart disease than those with low adherence.

They found that using the Life’s Essential 8 model, compared to the previous checklist, better predicted who would develop cardiovascular conditions.

The analysis also showed women received a greater benefit from following the eight metrics than men.

As adherence scores rose, the risk for coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease fell more for women than it did for men.

Likewise, the protective association between adherence scores and heart risks was stronger for people 55 and younger than it was for older adults.

The team also found the link between adherence and coronary heart disease risk was stronger among people with a low genetic disposition for the condition.

Those with low genetic risk and high adherence to the metrics were 78% less likely to develop coronary heart disease over a decade of follow-up compared to people with high genetic risk and low adherence.

Likewise, those with a low genetic risk for stroke and high adherence to metrics were 64% less likely to have a stroke than those with a high genetic risk and low adherence scores.

The team says future work needs to see how people with a high genetic predisposition for heart disease would be affected by greater adherence to Life’s Essential 8.

If you care about stroke, please read studies that diets high in flavonoids could help reduce stroke risk, and MIND diet could slow down cognitive decline after stroke.

If you care about heart health, please read studies that yogurt may help lower the death risks in heart disease, and coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.

The study was conducted by Dr. Xiang Li et al and presented at the AHA’s Epidemiology and Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health conference.

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