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Heart disease rising at high rates in the United States, AHA reports

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently revealed updated statistics on the incidence of heart disease and stroke in the United States.

The American Heart Association (AHA) is a non-profit organization that concentrates on the health of the brain and heart. The AHA supports medical research related to heart disease and stroke. The organization provides information to help live a healthier lifestyle. This information is also useful for persons who have heart disease. There are various factors that equate to heart disease, these include, coronary heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, and stroke.

The AHA has released statistically updated information regarding the prevalence of heart disease. The information also includes reviews of recent records and medical and scientific outcomes associated with heart disease.

Heart disease rates declining globally but increasing in the United States

The 2019 update reveals that 48% of United States adults were living with heart disease in 2016. It remains to be the number one cause of mortality around the world. Globally, heart disease deaths have declined (17.6 million in 2016, 17.9 million in 2015), however, in the U.S., heart disease deaths have increased from 836,546 in 2015, to 840,678 in 2016.

Statistics show that persons between the ages of 12-19 have significantly decreased smoking since 2000. Also, adult non-smoking rates have increased from 73% to 79% since 2000. Furthermore, younger adults are exercising more than they were over a decade ago. Conversely, adults are showing to have decreased their exercise since 2005.

High rates of blood pressure are concerning

Researchers are especially concerned at the rates of high blood pressure. In fact, authors of “Nearly half of all adult Americans have cardiovascular disease” note that the 2019 statistical rise is largely due to the fact that high blood pressure is now considered 130/80 mm Hg, as opposed to the previous indication of 140/90 mm Hg (2017 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology). By preventing high blood pressure, rates of heart disease and heart disease-related deaths would likely decline.

Receiving an adequate amount of sleep is necessary

This year, the AHA highlights that getting enough sleep will help with heart disease and overall health. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommends that sleeping for seven-plus hours a night will help in achieving a healthier lifestyle. However, it is important to note that sleeping too much, or sleeping too little, can be unhealthy.

The results from previous research indicate that by regulating diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, around 80% of heart disease is preventable. Creating a healthy lifestyle is a key component in preventing and managing heart disease. A healthy lifestyle requires sustaining a healthy weight. It also consists of consuming more fruits and vegetables and decreasing or excluding meat, dairy, and alcohol. An increase in physical exercise and a complete elimination of smoking will also help.

Written by Laura Laroche, HBASc, Medical Writer


  1. Health Topics. 2019, https://www.heart.org/, assessed 21 Feb. 2019.
  2. Nearly half of all adult Americans have cardiovascular disease. 2019, https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/aha-nho012919.php, assessed 21 Feb. 2019.


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