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Tips for Heart Health Also Reduce Cancer Risk

LifestyleChangeReducesCancerRiskI’m excited about a new study that really “connects the dots” about a healthy lifestyle and reducing disease risk. This study documents how one set of healthy habits can influence the risk factors of multiple diseases. We always liked to think that’s the case. Now we have some good science to back us up.

The Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University compared how following “Life’s Simple 7” (seven targets from the American Heart Association to reduce heart disease risk) could also affect cancer risk over the long term. Researchers followed more than 13,000 people for nearly 20 years, and the results were impressive. Those participants who adhered to the ideal range of the seven factors showed a major reduction in the rate of development of all cancers combined (skin cancer was excluded from this group).

This report is great news for those of us doing our best to meet these seven criteria for heart healthy living. Here are Life’s Simple 7:

1.       Blood pressure

2.       Physical activity

3.       Cholesterol

4.       Healthy diet

5.       Healthy weight

6.       Smoking status

7.       Blood glucose

It’s empowering to know that we have a lot of personal control over these factors based on how we choose to live our life. If you’re not already aware of your own “Simple 7,” start with a visit to your doctor. Discuss them with your doctor. Then set up a productive partnership for a healthy lifestyle (your part) and necessary medical/medication support (your doctor’s part).

And all change is good – every small positive change helps! If your numbers are not ideal, keep working on them! Small steps can lead to a big payoff when it comes to heart health. And, now, you can lower your cancer risk as well!