A new report published on 31 January in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Circulation shows that almost half of the US adults have a form of cardiovascular disease, be it high blood pressure, heart disease or a history of stroke.
The figures are worrying but expected to increase since the AHA changed the 2017 threshold of high blood pressure from 140/90 mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg, meaning that a lot more Americans are now in the high blood pressure category. A chart released by AHA can be seen below.
According to the report, in 2019, almost 48% of US adults had a form of cardiovascular disease, with only 9% cases who had heart disease or aftereffects of a stroke, and the rest of cases having high blood pressure.
The leader of the committee that wrote this report is M.D., Sc.M., Dr. Emelia Benjamin. She said that the average American has 90% chances to develop the condition in their lifetime, but the risks can be lowered. Benjamin, who is also a cardiovascular medicine professor at Boston University School of Medicine recommends people the following:
Stop smoking, eat healthier, exercise, get your cholesterol and blood sugar under control.
As for an active lifestyle, she advised to make life changes through small, simple steps:
I’m not talking about training for the Boston Marathon. You can stop taking the elevator and use the stairs. You can park your car in the furthest spot from the store.
Dr. Ivor Benjamin, volunteer president of the AHA explains that if high blood pressure were eliminated, it would cut many deaths from heart disease.
Benjamin notes that this problem won’t be easy to fix, but giving up smoking, having a less sedentary life and eating healthier will be an improvement. She also added that this is not a responsibility that only individuals must assume – the government must take measures to give Americans access to healthy food, health care, and safe places where they can exercise.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.