Life’s Simple Tool: The X-Factor to Prevent Heart Disease


What’s your risk for heart disease? That’s the question that prompted the American Heart Association to create Life’s Simple 7.

It’s a simple way to evaluate your risk for heart disease based on seven factors:

  1. Tobacco use
  2. Diet
  3. Physical activity
  4. Body Mass Index
  5. Blood pressure
  6. Total cholesterol
  7. Blood sugar levels

But after 10 years of using Life’s Simple 7, researchers identified an X-factor missing from the list that can also be a major predictor for heart disease risk. Know what it is?

The X-factor: Sleep

The American Heart Association found that poor-quality sleep or sleep disorders raise the risk for heart disease. Lack of sleep also increases risk factors for heart disease like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Are you getting enough sleep? Consider this. When researchers evaluated patients based on following Life’s Simple 7 and sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night, it lowered their risk for heart disease by 61 percent.

There are many ways to reduce your risk for heart disease. But one of the most powerful is #2 from Life’s Simple 7...your diet. 

If you want to prevent heart disease, eat healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, eggs, fish, nuts & seeds, legumes, and plenty of water.) That also means avoiding or limiting sugary drinks, fast food, processed meals, and sugary treats and desserts.

On the fence about changing your diet? Think about this. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It claims the lives of about 647,000 people a year. About every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack. And it doesn’t have to be that way. Heart disease is largely preventable by adopting healthy lifestyle habits and eating healthy foods.

Want to give your diet a makeover to lower your risk for heart disease? It doesn’t have to be hard. Check out these Low-Sodium meals made from fresh ingredients, and ready to eat in minutes