Getty: JGI Tom Grill

Getty: JGI Tom Grill

Get your Life Check score. The American Heart Association (AHA) has taken some of the guesswork out of living healthy. To advance their mission to dramatically reduce rates of heart disease, the AHA has developed an easy, online quiz to help people measure their heart disease risk factors and clearly see what they need to do to protect their heart health.

New research shows that following plan’s guidelines may also help you prevent kidney disease, an important bonus for African Americans because we have disproportionately high rates of kidney failure.

The AHA’s My Life Check® test is linked to the Simple 7 Success Plan. Developed with a team of health experts, the Simple 7 plan focuses on helping you achieve health-supporting levels of cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, while eating healthy and staying active

“This study was the first to show that for people who are generally healthy, a higher number of ideal Life’s Simple 7 health factors is associated with a reduced risk of new-onset kidney disease,” said study author Casey M. Rebholz, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.S., assistant professor of epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, in an American Heart Association interview.

The AHA research team found that over 22 years, there were 2,743 incident CKD cases among people in the study group. Those subjects who had high scores on the Simple 7 scale had the lowest risk of chronic kidney disease. In fact, only 6.5 percent of the subjects with six or seven optimal health factors developed chronic kidney disease.

To put the Simple 7 guidelines to work for you, take the test, check the score and get on track.