Heart disease: The #1 killer in the United States

Here are some alarming statistics on Heart Disease from the American Heart Association:

  • Heart disease strikes someone in the U.S. about once every 42 seconds.
  • Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, killing over 370,000 people a year.
  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined.
  • Cardiovascular operations and procedures increased about 28 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to federal data, totaling about 7.6 million in 2010.
  • About 750,000 people in the U.S. have heart attacks each year. Of those, about 116,000 die.
  • About 550,000 people in the U.S. have a first-time heart attack each year, and about 200,000 have recurrent heart attacks.

The American Heart Association recommends 7 simple life changes for long lasting health

  • Smoking:  Approximately 20% of all deaths from heart disease in the U.S. are directly related to cigarette smoking. Your risk of heart disease and heart attack greatly increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke. If you smoke, find the support you need to quit for good.
  • Body Weigh:  21% of ischemic heart disease is attributable to a BMI (Body Mass Index) above 21. As your BMI increases, so does your risk of heart disease and stroke.
    If your body weight is putting you at risk, work with a nutritionist
  • Cholesterol:  Approximately 73.5 million adults (31.7%) in the US have high LDL (aka “bad”) cholesterol. If your total cholesterol is high you have twice the risk for heart disease than someone with normal cholesterol levels. If you have high cholesterol, work with your doctor and nutritionist to help reduce your total cholesterol numbers.
  • Blood Pressure:  In the US, 1 out of every 3 adults (77.9 million) have high blood pressure. About 69% of people who have a first heart attack, 77% who have a first stroke, and 74% who have congestive heart failure had blood pressure higher than 140/90mmHg. If you have high blood pressure, speak with your doctor to determine the best steps you can take to lower your blood pressure.
  • Blood Sugar:  Over time, high blood sugar levels will damage nerves and blood vessels. This leads to complications such as heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death among people with diabetes.  If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, make an appointment with your doctor and a nutritionist to help get your blood sugar under control.
  • Physical Activity:  You can double your risk of dying from a cardiovascular event just by being inactive. Walking at least two hours a week can reduce the incidence of premature death from cardiovascular disease by about 50%.  If you are currently inactive, or workout less than 2 hours per week, start adding in short walks several times per week and consider hiring a personal trainer.
  • Healthy Diet:  A diet high in processed fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, sodium and junk food leads to high levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar as well as increased body weight – all of which contribute to increased risk of heart disease.  Make an appointment with me today to help work toward a more heart friendly diet.


Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

“7 Simple Life Changes” American Heart Association, Retrieved 5 February 2018. <http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/My-Life-Check—Lifes-Simple-7_UCM_471453_Article.jsp#.WniwCejwaUk>.