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One in Eight Americans Have Two Risk Factors for Heart Disease


Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, so it should come as no surprise that nearly half (45%) of all adult Americans have one of the top three risk factors for the condition, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. But the most shocking statistics, released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are that one in eight Americans have two risk factors simultaneously, and one in 33 Americans have all three.

Another shocker is that of those with at least one condition, 15% have not been diagnosed and are not receiving the treatment needed to lower their risk.

In addition, obesity contributes to the development of all three factors. Nearly 67% of US adults are overweight or obese. Dr. Clyde W. Yancy, president of the American Heart Association, says, "The burden of risk is directly related to the burden of obesity. Obesity is directly related to high blood pressure, directly related to diabetes, directly related to an abnormal lipid profile."

African Americans are more likely to have two or three conditions and, as a group, have the highest proportion of hypertension. Mexican Americans were more likely to have diabetes and Caucasians were most likely to have high cholesterol.

The data for the surveys comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which releases new figures every two years. It consists of interviews, standardized physical exams, and laboratory tests of blood and urine.

These three risk factors, for most people, are very treatable with lifestyle modifications and can greatly reduce the risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Another study released this week has found that the four habits that cause the greatest risk for heart disease are smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet, and lack of exercise.

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Dr. Steve E. Nissen, Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic said "These findings are disturbing and reflect the cumulative effects of the modern American lifestyle. If we continue on the same course, this problem will grow progressively worse."

Cardiovascular disease affects more than 81 million Americans and accounts for one out of every three deaths in the US.

If you have any of the three cardiovascular risk factors above, the following eMaxHealth articles may help you pinpoint lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk:

Simple Diet Strategies to Help Lower Blood Pressure

Don't Give Up Your Resolution to Quit Smoking

Even Moderate Weight Loss Improves Heart Function

Simple Diet Rules for Weight Loss

Being Active is Good for Your Health