Change in Life's Simple 7 Measure of Cardiovascular Health after Incident Stroke: The REGARDS Study

Academic Article


  • Background and Purpose: Life's Simple 7 (LS7) is a metric for cardiovascular health based on the 7 domains of smoking, diet, physical activity, body mass index, blood pressure, total cholesterol, and fasting glucose. Because they may be targeted for secondary prevention purposes, we hypothesized that stroke survivors would experience improvement in LS7 score over time compared with people who did not experience a stroke. We addressed this hypothesis in the REGARDS study (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) cohort of Black and White adults enrolled between 2003 and 2007. Methods: Participants who had LS7 data at baseline, were stroke-free at baseline, had a 10-year follow-up visit, and either did not have a stroke or had an ischemic stroke >1 year before follow-up were included (N=7569). Among these participants, 149 (2.0%) had an adjudicated ischemic stroke between the LS7 assessments. LS7 scores were classified as 0 to 2 points for each domain for a maximum score of 14, with higher scores representing better health. Multivariable linear regression was used to test the association of ischemic stroke with change in LS7 score. Covariates included baseline LS7 score, age, race, sex, education, and geographic region. Results: The 149 stroke survivors had an average of 4.9 years (SD=2.5) of follow-up from the stroke event to the second LS7 assessment. After adjusting for covariates, participants who experienced an ischemic stroke showed 0.28 points more decline in total LS7 score (P=0.03) than those who did not experience a stroke. Conclusions: Stroke survivors did not experience improvements in cardiovascular health due to secondary prevention after ischemic stroke. On the contrary, they experienced significantly greater decline, indicating the need for greater efforts in secondary prevention after a stroke.
  • Published In

  • Stroke  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Liu C; Roth DL; Gottesman RF; Sheehan OC; Blinka MD; Howard VJ; Judd SE; Cushman M
  • Start Page

  • 878
  • End Page

  • 886