February is the month we recognize heart health, and though much is said about this leading cause of death in our nation, I still think it’s a good time to review ways to reduce the risk heart disease and how to treat it. In 2010, the American Heart Association (AHA) introduced “Life’s Simple Seven,” which are steps to take to reduce risk of heart disease.
Heart disease includes heart attack, heart failure and hypertension. An 11-year study by the AHA demonstrated a 55 percent lower risk of cardiovascular mortality in those that met three or four of the seven criteria versus those that adhered to only two or fewer. A study among 12,000 participants from the University of South Carolina (the Aerobics Longitudinal Study) demonstrated that those who met five to seven of the criteria reduced risk by 64 percent versus those who met the fewest.