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American Heart Association president Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones talks heart health

The American Heart Association's (AHA) new president, Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, has one mission: to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives

"I think the most important thing for people to realize about their heart health lifelong is that so much of it is in their own control," said Lloyd-Jones, chair of the department of preventive medicine and professor epidemiology, cardiology and pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "We talk about the genetic underpinnings of heart disease and stroke risk and some of the risk factors, but in truth, you can trump that genetic risk with healthy lifestyles." 

As a cardiologist and now president of the heart health-focused association, Lloyd-Jones recommends everyone follow the AHA's "Life's Simple 7," an easy-to-follow checklist of the seven risk factors people can improve through lifestyle changes to help achieve ideal cardiovascular health:

  1. Managing blood pressure
  2. Controlling cholesterol
  3. Reducing blood sugar
  4. Getting active
  5. Eating better
  6. Losing weight
  7. Stopping smoking 

Lloyd-Jones began his one-year term as AHA president in July 2021. He is the fourth Feinberg faculty member to ascend to the helm of the AHA, along with Dr. Clyde Yancy,  vice dean for diversity and inclusion, Dr. Robert Bonow, professor of cardiology, and the late Dr. Oglesby Paul.