The American Heart Association encourages everyone to take what they call “7 small steps to big changes” to reduce heart attacks and strokes. Observational evidence also suggests they may help preserve cognition, so your brain can continue to remember, learn, solve problems, make decisions, pay attention, process sensory information, support mobility and communication, and regulate emotions.
Given its importance in everything that we do, you can understand why it is so essential to do whatever it takes to maintain brain health.
Because the brain depends on the heart and blood vessels to deliver nutrients (oxygen and glucose) to it, it shouldn’t be a surprise that what’s good for the heart is also good for the brain. And, what’s bad for the heart and blood vessels is bad for the brain.
The following are the American Heart Association’s seven strategies, some of which you can do on your own, while the others may need medical help to achieve.
Here are four things that you can do on your own:
- Be physically active on a regular basis
- Eat a healthy diet
- Achieve a healthy weight
- Don’t start smoking or quit smoking (you may need medical help with the quitting part)
And three things that may require medical help:
- Manage high blood pressure
- Normalize lipids (not just total cholesterol)
- Keep blood sugar in the normal range
These seven strategies can have big payoffs, including fewer heart attacks, fewer strokes, and better brain health.
The evidence suggests that it is never too early to incorporate Life’s Simple 7 into your daily life, so you should get started now. And, please don’t do it alone. Get everyone in the family engaged. Make Life’s Simple 7 the way you lead your life.
If you would like to learn more about how strategies can help you maintain heart and brain health, please read the full article on The Doctor Weighs In.
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