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January 31, 2019

Nearly half of all U.S. adults have cardiovascular disease – study

121 million adults had cardiovascular disease in 2016, American Heart Association data shows

Adult Health Heart Health
Doctor takes a patient's blood pressure rawpixel/Pexels.com

We know that heart disease is a big issue here in Philadelphia and in the United States as a whole, but researchers have now put a number on the extent of problem in a study published Thursday.

Nearly half of all adults in the United States have some type of cardiovascular disease — defined as coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke or high blood pressure — according to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) annual report, Heart and Stroke Statistics.

AHA data show that more than 121 million adults had cardiovascular disease in 2016 — a number slowly on the rise. The vast majority – about 103 million adults – have high blood pressure only. Heart disease was the No. 1 cause of death in the United States and stroke was No. 5.


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The rise in heart disease is partly driven by recent guidelines that changed the definition of high blood pressure. 

A behavior that’s highly associated with causing heart disease is smoking. While some groups have seen a great decline in cigarette smoking, it is not consistent across the board, CNN reports.

"Substantially higher tobacco use prevalence rates are observed in American Indian/Alaska Natives and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations, as well as among individuals with low socioeconomic status, those with mental illness, individuals with HIV who are receiving medical care, and those who are active-duty military," the report notes.

The report includes a new recommendation that adults get at least seven hours of sleep per night to promote optimal health, CNN notes.

Three additional highlights of the report include:

• Heart and blood vessel disease is linked to one of every three deaths in the United States, killing more Americans than all cancer and respiratory diseases combined.

• Certain groups — like black men and women — have higher rates of the disease.

• Coronary heart disease caused 43 percent of cardiovascular deaths in the United States, followed by stroke (17 percent), high blood pressure (10 percent) and heart failure (9 percent), ABC News reports. 

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