Actions to Improve Heart Health
Lifestyle and diet impact health and longevity. This concept was once again substantiated by a medical study presented at the recent American Heart Association Scientific Sessions meeting. Researchers at Allina Health and the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation shared information from their ten year joint study based in New Ulm, MN. This study examined modifying cardiovascular disease risk factors in a rural community.
Interventions impacting improved health of participants in the study included:
♥Heart health screening
♥Work site health improvement
♥Better food choices in restaurants
♥Encouraging farmer market shopping
♥Increasing physical activity in the community
Researchers looked at changes in heart disease risk factors over the first five years. In an additional study, they examined whether short-term lifestyle changes had any effect on HDL, high density lipoprotein, often termed the “good cholesterol” – the one you want high. With the Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio, heart disease risk prediction can be calculated. (These tests are included on standard lipid blood panels.) Researchers found weight loss the strongest lifestyle predictor for increasing HDL.
Findings included improvements in:
Blood pressure control
In the studies, improving lifestyle choices, health care access, and environment changes in the community and workplaces, resulted in overall reduction of cardiovascular risks. Lack of exercise increased heart risk.
To calculate your personal heart risks, complete the survey at the Harvard School of Public Health: https://healthyheartscore.sph.harvard.edu/