New Report: 50% of US Adults Have Heart Disease
A new report from the American Heart Association (AHA) finds that roughly half of adults living in the United States suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The recently published AHA annual report appears in the journal Circulation and sums of the findings of several prominent national health agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  According to the authors, the report details “the newest, most relevant statistics on heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular risk factors.”
So, what kind of picture report paint?
A very bleak one beginning with the fact that at least 48% of all adult Americans (~121.5 million people) had had some type of cardiovascular disease in 2016. Additionally, the various health agencies also stated that the number of CVD-associated deaths grew from 836,546 in 2015 to 840,678 deaths in 2016.
When asked for the cause of the stark increase in CVD and CVD-related deaths, the associated said it was primarily due to the recent change in the definition of high blood pressure in 2017.
Published in in the 2017 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology hypertension guidelines, the guidelines marked a change in the definition of qualifies a person as hypertensive (high blood pressure).
The 2017 change shifting the threshold for high blood pressure from 140/90 mmHG to 130/80 mm Hg. 
Now, obviously anytime you lower the barrier to entry you’ll automatically have more people enter a given sector. This leads one to wonder if scientists have noticed a stark increase in cardiovascular-related issue with individuals having a blood pressure of 130/80, or was the change made to serve as an early warning sign.
In other words, if you tell someone with a BP of 130/80, “hey you have high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, you might die sooner rather than later.” They might be more motivated to make necessary lifestyle changes. But, we’ll save the in-depth analysis of the recent “high blood pressure threshold change” for another day.
Back to the report…
Other key statistics from the AHA-led report include:
- Certain groups have increased rates of CVD than others (e.g. 60% of black males and 57% black females)
- Cardiovascular disease is linked to 33% (1 in 3) deaths in the United States
- CVD kills more Americans than all forms of cancer and respiratory diseases combined.
- Coronary heart disease (clogged or hardened arteries) was responsible for 43% of cardiovascular deaths
- Stroke accounted for 17% of cardiovascular deaths
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) 10% and heart failure (9%) round out the list of CVD deaths.
The organization states that approximately 80% of all cardiovascular disease is preventable when living a healthy lifestyle (good diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, etc.)
What do you think of the recent AHA report?
Are you surprised by the group’s findings?
Leave a comment down below with your thoughts.
1) J., B. E., Paul, M., Alvaro, A., S., B. M., W., C. C., P., C. A., … null, null. (2019). Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2019 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 0(0), CIR.0000000000000659. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000659
2) K., W. P., M., C. R., S., A. W., E., C. D., J., C. K., Cheryl, D. H., … T., W. J. (2018). 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Hypertension, 71(6), e13–e115. https://doi.org/10.1161/HYP.0000000000000065