Nearly half of US adults suffer from cardiovascular diseases, said a new report published by the American Heart Association.
The association, which published its report featuring the latest data on heart conditions in the journal Circulation on Thursday, said that 121.5 million Americans, or about 48.5%, dealt with heart or blood vessel disease as of 2016, according to statistics from the association's Cardiology and Stroke Department, which collected data in collaboration with national health institutes and other government health institutions.
Heart disease remains by far the leading cause of death in the United States. The association said that after decades of declines, deaths from cardiovascular disease are on the rise again (with 840,678 deaths recorded in 2016, up from 836,546 in 2015), although the number of deaths worldwide has fallen from 17.9 million in 2015 to 17.6 million in 2016.
The association attributed this increase in the United States to the detection of more cases of high blood pressure after redefining its readings.
Generally, heart conditions include coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke or high blood pressure. Excluding high blood pressure, prevalence of cardiovascular disease among US adults is 9% (24.3 million in 2016).
Ivor Benjamin, volunteer president of the American Heart Association, said in a statement: "High blood pressure can’t be dismissed from the equation in our fight against cardiovascular disease. Researches show that this condition may have a greater impact on the deaths caused by heart diseases."
The results of scientific researches show that about 80% of all heart disease can be avoided by controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, as well as adopting a healthy lifestyle and quitting smoking.
The report noted that the most significant improvements in reducing heart disease risks was the increase of non-smokers rate among children and adolescents between 12 and 19 years by 20% in 2015-2016 compared to the beginning of the third millennium. In the past 50 years, the proportion of smokers in adult men has declined to 16.7% compared to 34% in 1965.
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