Seven health measures can help us identify our risk and predict long-term heart health
Cardiovascular disease affects one in every six Australians, making it one of our biggest health problems.1 A new study of the seven health measures, identified by the American Heart Association, can help us identify our risk and predict long-term heart health.2
A team of researchers from around the world studied how the key health measures were related to people's heart health.3 The study of 74,710 Chinese adults, showed that people who scored favourably on the metrics had a lower chance of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than those who did not.
The seven metrics identified include four modifiable behaviours:
And three biometrics:
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
Xiang Gao, associate professor of nutritional sciences and director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Lab at Penn State told Science Daily 6 that "19 per cent of participants were able to maintain a better cardiovascular health score over the four years. We found that those people had a 79 per cent lower chance of developing heart disease in the future than people who maintained a low cardiovascular health score."
In 2014/2015, it was reported that almost three per cent of the Australian population (or 620,000 people) had a long-term coronary condition.1 But this study shed crucial information and learnings on how to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Gao continued, "we found that improvement of overall cardiovascular health overtime related to lower future CVD in this population, even for those with poor cardiovascular health status at the beginning of the study."
So what can you do to boost your heart health? "Overall cardiovascular health is still the most important thing and that one factor isn't more important than the others," Gao said. Focus on what you can change first, the four modifiable factors, maintain a healthy weight, exercise, eat healthily and stop smoking.
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