The American Heart Association (AHA) announced on January 31, 2019 the findings of its Heart and Stroke Statistics — 2019 Update that was published in its journal Circulation. The researchers found that 48 percent of all adults in the United States (121.5 million in 2016) have some type of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is comprised of coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and high blood pressure. Excluding high blood pressure from the definition, CVD prevalence among adults in the U.S. is 9 percent overall (24.3 million in 2016). Nonetheless, CVD disease is the leading cause of death globally, and is on the rise in the United States. After decades of a steady decline in the U.S., there were 840,678 CVD deaths in the U.S. in 2016, which is an increase from 836,546 in 2015. Globally, CVD deaths was lower in 2016 (17.6 million) than in 2015 (17.9 million).
In 2017, the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology hypertension guidelines updated the definition of high blood pressure as a reading of 130/80 mm Hg, from the previous definition of 140/90 mm Hg, which drove the significant increase in reported CVD in the U.S. compared to prior years.
The AHA reports that research shows that approximately 80 percent of all CVD can be prevented by controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, along with adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors such as not smoking. Healthy behaviors such as eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight could have the most impact as they contribute to multiple conditions.
The AHA reports that some of the most significant improvements in risk reduction are in the decline of smoking rates: in the last 50 years, the number of U.S. adults who smoke has dramatically fallen from 51 percent of males smoking in 1965 to 16.7 percent in 2015, and from 34 percent of females in 1965 to 13.6 percent in 2015 (age-adjusted rates). And more Americans are exercising: more than half of students report participating in muscle-strengthening activities on three or more days per week (from 47.8 percent in 1991 to 53.4 percent in 2015), and the prevalence of physical inactivity among U.S. adults has decreased by more than a third (from 40.2 percent in 2005 to 26.9 percent in 2016).
Nonetheless, the prevalence of obesity in the United States is concerning: the 2015 to 2016 prevalence of obesity was 39.6 percent of U.S. adults and 18.5 percent of youths, with 7.7 percent of adults and 5.6 percent of youth having severe obesity.
The importance of sleep with regard to the prevalence of CVD is getting more attention: the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend adults get at least seven or more hours of sleep per night to promote optimal health (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 65.2 of people in the U.S. regularly sleep seven or more hours a night), and a meta-analysis of 43 studies found that too much or too little sleep (more than eight hours or less than seven hours per night) were associated with a greater risk of death from all causes.
If you or a loved one were misdiagnosed with regard to cardiovascular disease or received negligent medical care and treatment for cardiovascular disease in the United States and suffered harm, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you or your loved one, and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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