How to check your heart health?
The American Heart Association offers a "Life's Essential 8" checklist to measure your cardiovascular health, which includes three health behaviors (HB) and five health factors (HF):
- HB: Your healthy eating pattern should include whole foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and cooking in non-tropical oils such as olive and canola.
- HB: Adults should get 2 ½ hours of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week.
- HB: Avoid nicotine consumption: cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping, and exposure to secondhand smoke or vaping.
- HF: Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- HF: Manage your weight and maintain optimal BMI (25).
- HF: Get a regular check of your non-HDL ("bad") cholesterol, which can be measured without fasting beforehand.
- HF: Manage your blood sugar levels by regularly monitoring hemoglobin A1c.
- HF: Maintain healthy blood pressure: levels less than 120/80 mm Hg are optimal.