The American Heart Association’s original Life’s Simple 7 metrics has recently been expanded to 8. The earlier checklist used to assess an individual’s cardiovascular health risk included nicotine exposure, physical activity, diet, weight, blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure – and has been rounded out now to include sleep, as well.
AHA’s Life’s Essential 8™ is more than just a scorecard for doctors. Cardiologist Dr. Renee Bullock-Palmer explains it can be a guide for patients as well, as heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States.
“The risk factors are quite prominent,” she says. “There’s a lot of work to be done in terms of heart disease. At least half of us in the United States have hypertension. Elevation in cholesterol levels, glucose levels – all of those things can promote plaque buildup in the vessels of the heart and over time, close those vessels off and end up causing heart disease due to less blood going to the muscles of the heart.”
In addition to breaking down the at-home measures we can all take to prevent heart disease, Dr. Bullock-Palmer includes a sidebar on all of our potential roles in dealing with Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The sobering televised collapse of Damar Hamlin after a freak accident mid-game has focused new attention not only on the rare but deadly phenomenon known as commotio cordis, but on the urgent need to be prepared whenever someone passes out because their heart has stopped beating.
KYW’s Rasa Kaye talks with Dr. Bullock-Palmer about hands-on CPR, automated external defibrillators, and as importantly, the ways to protect our hearts so that we won’t require them.
Visit HeartDiseaseScore.org to learn more about heart disease, the signs and symptoms and to evaluate your risk factors.
To schedule an appointment, visit DemandDeborah.org or call 609-831-4456.
This Health Report is sponsored by Deborah Heart and Lung Center.