Abstract P021: Association of AHA Cardiovascular Health Metrics With Cognitive Function, Depression, and Anxiety: The Emory Healthy Aging Study
Background: The American Heart Association (AHA) has developed the Life’s Simple 7 metric (no smoking, high levels of physical activity, normal body mass index, no hypertension, no diabetes, no hyperlipidemia, healthy diet) to track behaviors and risk factors associated with cardiovascular health (CVH). Given the potential role that CVH has in cognition and psychological well-being, we aimed to study the association of the Life’s Simple 7 with cognitive function, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in the Emory Health Aging Study (EHAS).
Methods: EHAS is an ongoing cohort study with the overall goal of understanding determinants of healthy aging in the general population. Participants 18 years of age or older are recruited at primary care clinics, community events, and through social media, primarily from the Atlanta (GA) area. Information on sociodemographic variables (age, sex, race, education, income), anthropometrics (weight, height), lifestyles (smoking, physical activity), and clinical variables (history of hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular disease [CVD]) was collected through online questionnaires. Life’s Simple 7 score (excluding diet; information not available) was defined based on self-reported data, giving 1 point per achieved metric [range 0 (lowest)-6(highest CVH)]. Neurobehavioral variables were measured using validated scales (Cognitive Function Instrument (CFI), range 0-14, for cognition; Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-8, range 0-24, for depressive symptoms; Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) questionnaire, range 0-21, for anxiety; higher scores represent worse function/symptoms). Cross-sectional associations between Life’s Simple 7 score and these scales were assessed using multivariable linear regression adjusting for sociodemographic variables.
Results: We included 3,774 participants [mean age (standard deviation, SD) 58 (13), 79% women, 84% white, 9% African American, 7% other) free of self-reported CVD, recruited between October 2015 and October 2016. Levels of CVH in the cohort were relatively high, with 62% participants meeting at least 4 health criteria [mean (SD) score 3.9 (1.3)]. The mean (SD) of CFI, PHQ-8, and GAD were 1.9 (2.1), 3.2 (3.8), 2.4 (3.4), respectively. In analyses adjusted for age, sex, race, education, and income, higher values of Life’s Simple 7 score were related to better cognitive function and lower levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety: estimates (95% confidence interval) per 1-point in Life’s Simple 7 score were -0.16 (-0.22, -0.11) for CFI, -0.5 (-0.6, -0.4) for PHQ-8, and -0.3 (-0.4, -0.2) for GAD.
Conclusion: Higher levels of CVH, as assessed with the AHA Life’s Simple 7, were cross-sectionally associated with a beneficial neurobehavioral profile. Prospective studies should evaluate the impact of improving CVH on cognitive and emotional health.
Author Disclosures: A. Alonso: None. F.C. Goldstein: None. V. Vaccarino: None. A.I. Levey: None. J.J. Lah: None. M. Marcus: None.
- © 2017 by American Heart Association, Inc.