7 Primary Health Markers to Improve Cardiovascular Health
In a recent statement by the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association, the primary 7 health markers advocated to improve cardiovascular health and prevent heart attacks and strokes were also recommended to improve cognitive function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.1 This is a huge step in the conventional medical system acknowledging that organ systems are interrelated and some of things are just good for the whole system.
Simple 7 Campaign
The “simple-7” is a campaign that the AHA has outlined in previous years as a method of bringing awareness to the public on the most important aspects of cardiovascular health. After studying over 182 research studies, the AHA deemed that these same seven health markers are also crucial to a health brain. What is a healthy brain, according to the AHA?
What is a ‘healthy brain’?
The AHA defines a “healthy brain” as “one that’s able to pay attention, solve problems, communicate, make decisions, and regulate emotions.” It also recommends that from a young age, steps be taken to minimize the narrowing of arteries which can lead to heart failure and also stroke.
About 47 million people currently have Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia. The World Health Organization estimates this number to triple by the year 2050. The incentive for addressing health factors that could slow this progression is large.
The 7 steps outlined by the AHA:
- managing blood pressure
- controlling cholesterol
- keeping blood sugar normal
- being physically active
- eating a healthy diet
- losing extra weight
- never smoking, or quitting, if you do
Scientifically Advocated Elements of Staying Healthy
These are not merely things that holistic practitioners advocate anymore. These are scientifically advocated elements to staying healthy, in mind and body. Additional recommendations from Harvard Medical School to keep your mind and brain functioning optimally are:
- being socially engaged
- continuing to learn
- using all of your senses
- believing in yourself
- economizing brain usage
- repeating what you want to know
- spacing out study periods
- using acronyms
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.