By Amy Orciari Herman
Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH
The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have issued an advisory on defining and maintaining optimal brain health.
Published in Stroke, the advisory emphasizes seven factors that may optimize brain health in adults:
- Nonsmoking status
- Regular physical activity
- Body-mass index below 25
- Healthy diet (e.g., DASH or Mediterranean diet)
- Untreated blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg
- Untreated total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL
- Fasting blood glucose below 100 mg/dL
“Research … convincingly demonstrates that the same risk factors that cause atherosclerosis, are also major contributors to late-life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease,” said the chair of the advisory’s writing group in a news release. “By following seven simple steps — Life’s Simple 7 — not only can we prevent heart attack and stroke, we may also be able to prevent cognitive impairment.”
The advisory also urges clinicians to follow AHA and ASA guidelines for preventing, diagnosing, and treating cardiovascular disease and stroke. Additionally, clinicians should administer brief cognitive screens to patients as appropriate.