Follow these 8 health indicators to have a healthy heart!

L’American Heart Association takes stock of the indicators to follow for a healthy heart. The recent update of its tracking tool now incorporates sleep, among other improvements!

Maintaining a healthy heart depends as much on environmental factors, linked to our way of life, as on biological factors that are more difficult to control. L’American Heart Association has created a tool for patients that allows them to estimate their cardiovascular health based on seven historical indicators, and a recently added eighth: the sleep.

The new time metric sleep reflects the latest scientific findings: sleep affects overall health, and people who have a healthy sleep pattern better manage weight, pressure blood and the risk of diabetes type 2 “, declared the president of theAmerican Heart Association (AHA), the cardiologist Donald M. Lloyd-Jones.

In addition to adding sleep, the tool, called Life’s Essential 8™, has undergone a global update. In fact, the first seven indicators were established in 2010. After more than ten years of scientific progress and several thousand studies on cardiovascular health, some of them had become obsolete. Four of the original indicators have been reviewed in the light of the latest clinical recommendations. The tool gives a score out of 100 to the patient following a questionnaire on his habits, and his medical follow-up can be used from the age of two years. The eight indicators monitored are divided into two groups: behavioral factors – lifestyle – and biological factors.

The four lifestyle habits to watch for our heart

Among the behavioral factors monitored are:

  • sleep: the duration recommended is seven to nine hours for adults, ten to sixteen hours for children under 5 years old and eight to twelve hours for 6-18 year olds;
  • exposure to nicotine : with update including the Electronic cigarettes. Exposure to second-hand smoke is also included;
  • diet: the ideal diet for eyes of the AHA is the Mediterranean diet;
  • physical activity : it is measured by the number of minutes practiced per week. The ideal being 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity for adults per week, and 420 minutes (seven hours) for children aged 6 and over.

The four biological data to monitor for our heart

Biological factors include:

  • BMI : an imperfect indicator but fairly easy to use;
  • blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides ): with the update, it now only tracks the “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) rather than total cholesterol;
  • the blood sugar ;
  • blood pressure: a rate of 120/80 mm Hg is considered optimal.

A constantly improving tool

A final score below 50/100 indicates poor cardiovascular health, between 50 and 79, cardiovascular health considered moderate and from 80, good cardiovascular health. These indicators give a good overall view of patient health, but cannot be exhaustive. L’American Heart Association is aware that socio-economic factors must be considered and are still missing from the tool. A Mental Health fragile, limited access to healthcare, a low level of education and racism can be a source of stress which also damages the heart.

We considered social determinants carefully in our update and concluded that more research is needed on this component to establish their measures and include them in the future. concludes Donald M. Lloyd-Jones.

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