Taking care of one's cardiovascular health today will lower the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in the future. This is the focus of a study that has been published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Using the best evidence they have on hand, the American Heart Association (AHA) has developed a program called Life's Simple 7. It is a collection of factors that can serve as a warning if one's health is at risk for cardiovascular diseases. The program is consists of four behaviors that remain to be modifiable, depending on the person's living conditions. It includes a list of the things that can be done by a person to reduce the risk of heart diseases.

The list includes maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, being physically active and eating only what is healthy. The study also includes three ways to measure a healthy body namely cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. According to the AHA, keeping in check all three measures alongside the four behaviors reduces the risk of dying from a cardiovascular complication (CVD).

"In truth, only about 2% of the people around the world meet the ideal requirements of the seven factors," Dr. Xiang Gao said. He is the director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Lab and a professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University. He also authored the latest study that looks into the impact of these seven factors to one's overall cardiovascular health. His study was aimed at finding out if the seven factors were enough to reduce the risk of developing CVD.

The fact that very few people meet the standard criteria set by the seven factors, Dr. Gao continues, "it raises the question of whether the improvement of these metrics in a patient's life would significantly lower the risk of CVD. Ideally, it should, but no data would support such a claim."

To find out, Prof. Gao and his team examined the data gathered from 74, 701 Chinese participants. They answered questionnaires concerning their health and underwent various clinical tests between the years 2006 to 2010. The researchers then analyzed the data and how its incidence related to the development of CVD

"We found that the people who followed the seven health patterns provided had lowered their chances of suffering from CVD. Over the four year period, their actions to meet the seven health guidelines have lowered the risks by almost 80%."

The researchers found that the same positive result is found even in patients who have started the study with poor cardiovascular health.

"This only confirms that the seven metrics recommended is valid. More importantly, it plays a huge role in developing strategies in cardiovascular disease prevention," Dr. Gao said.