What are the 7 metrics?

Answered by Jason Smith

The American Heart Association (AHA) has identified seven key metrics, known as Life’s Simple 7, that individuals can focus on to improve their cardiovascular health. These metrics are based on lifestyle factors that play a significant role in preventing heart disease and stroke. Let’s take a closer look at each of the seven metrics:

1. Stop Smoking: Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It damages the blood vessels and increases the risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your overall health.

2. Eat Better: A healthy diet is crucial for maintaining good cardiovascular health. The AHA recommends consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. This helps to reduce the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars. A balanced diet can help control weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

3. Get Active: Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy heart. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. This can include activities such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or playing sports. Being physically active helps to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and maintain a healthy weight.

4. Lose Weight: Excess weight puts a strain on the heart and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Losing even a small amount of weight can have significant health benefits. Set realistic goals for weight loss and focus on adopting healthy eating habits and increasing physical activity to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

5. Manage Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It is important to monitor blood pressure regularly and take steps to keep it within a healthy range. This can include lifestyle modifications such as reducing sodium intake, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, managing stress, and, if needed, taking prescribed medications.

6. Control Cholesterol: High levels of cholesterol, particularly LDL (bad) cholesterol, can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and, if necessary, medication can help control cholesterol levels. It is important to get regular cholesterol screenings and work with your healthcare provider to manage your cholesterol effectively.

7. Manage Blood Sugar: High blood sugar levels, particularly in individuals with diabetes, can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is crucial to manage blood sugar levels through proper diet, regular exercise, and medication if prescribed. Regular monitoring and working closely with a healthcare team can help keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range.

By focusing on these seven metrics, individuals can make positive changes to their lifestyle and reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It is important to remember that small steps can lead to significant improvements in overall health. Consult with healthcare professionals, such as doctors and dietitians, to create a personalized plan that addresses these metrics and supports your individual needs and goals.