Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, though cancer is a close second, and chronic respiratory diseases are third.
In order to combat the threat of cardiovascular disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published their 2019 Heart and Stroke statistics in the journal Circulation.
Cardiovascular disease is a general term for a variety of conditions which include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Heart valve problems
- Heart attack
The AHA report shows that approximately 50% of all adults in the United States suffer from cardiovascular disease. Alarmingly, while rates of cardiovascular disease have declined worldwide, they have continued to rise in the United States.
The report noted that the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease may have been caused by the recent change in the definition of what constitutes high blood pressure. Until 2017, blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg was considered normal. In 2017, revised guidelines redefined high blood pressure as being above 130/80 mm Hg.
According to Dr. Ivor Benjamin, president of the AHA and director of the Cardiovascular Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee:
“As one of the most common and dangerous risk factors for heart disease and stroke, the overwhelming presence of high blood pressure can’t be dismissed from the equation in our fight against cardiovascular disease. […] Research has shown that eliminating high blood pressure could have a larger impact on cardiovascular deaths than the elimination of all other risk factors among women and all except smoking among men.”
The report mentioned the good news that rates of smoking have continued to decline, especially among teenagers. It also noted some bad news: that physical inactivity has increased among a large segment of the population. However, any possible improvements in cardiovascular health were offset by the increasing levels of obesity and sleep deprivation that have become the norm in the United States.
The takeaway message for us is clear: if we decide to exercise or stop smoking, but continue to eat potato chips and use our electronic devices after the time for sleep has already arrived, we can’t expect much success in diminishing our risk for cardiovascular disease.
We need to eliminate the negative behaviors of unhealthy diet and poor sleep, while increasing positive behaviors, such as avoiding smoking and getting appropriate exercise. If we can follow these seemingly simple steps, perhaps we can finally turn the tide on cardiovascular disease, the Nuber 1 killer in the United States.
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Contact us by clicking here to see how we can help you or your loved one recover from cardiovascular disease.