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Missing Too Many Heart-Healthy Habits

Posted on May 27th, 2012

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States today, beating cancer and stroke. One and a half million Americans die every year from the disease or problems connected to it.  Even though heart disease can be caused by genetic risk factors such as family history or by aging, poor lifestyle choices are to be blamed in most cases.  Too much weight, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol abuse and physical inactivity are all known causes of heart disease.  Most patients with heart disease have many of these risk factors to deal with – and they tend to worsen each other’s effects.

In a recently completed study of almost 45,000 adult Americans, researchers reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 2010 which showed that participants who closely followed the diet and lifestyle recommendations of the American Heart Health Association (AHA) had a 76% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 51% lower risk of all deaths than those who did not follow the recommendations as well. The details of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Only a small group of Americans followed all or most of the AHA guidelines for heart health. Surprisingly, the biggest issue is not the lack of knowledge, but it is actually getting people to incorporate the diet and lifestyle modifications into their daily living activities.

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