Last week the American Heart Association published its strategic impact goals for the next decade.
By 2020 the AHA wants Americans to improve their heart health by 20 percent. It also wants to reduce deaths from heart disease and stroke by 20 percent.
Preliminary data indicate that heart disease remained the leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2007. It caused 615,651 deaths.
To reach its 2020 goals the AHA is promoting the “Simple 7” steps to better heart health:
- Get active
- Eat better
- Lose weight
- Stop smoking
- Control cholesterol
- Manage blood pressure
- Reduce blood sugar
"These seven factors — if you can keep them ideal or control them — end up being the fountain of youth for your heart," Dr. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones told the AP. He is a cardiologist and was the lead author of the AHA statement.
How well are you doing with the Simple 7 steps? To find out you can complete the AHA’s new My Life Check online assessment.
My Life Check will give you a personal “heart score.” It also will give you an action plan to help you improve your heart health.
Improving your “sleep health” also can be good for your heart. It is well known that obstructive sleep apnea is a risk factor for heart disease. A scientific statement published in 2008 urged doctors to pay attention to the link between the two conditions.
The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated. CPAP therapy helps normalize breathing during sleep. And studies show that CPAP therapy for obstructive sleep apnea helps the heart.
Get help for sleep apnea at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.