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Five Ways To Love Your Heart

September 18, 2009

Flower_heart

We Americans are not doing a very good job of taking care of our hearts. According to a new survey published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, a mere 7.5 percent of adults in this country between the ages of 25 and 74 are at low risk for heart disease. In other words, millions of Americans — more than 92 percent — have one or more risk factors for heart disease.

Based on research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the survey looked at five risk factors known to contribute to heart disease.  To make the low-risk category, individuals had to meet the following requirements:

*  Were not currently smoking

* Had total cholesterol below 200 (mg/dL) without using cholesterol-lowering drugs

* Had blood pressure (systolic/diastolic) below 120/80 without using blood-pressure lowering medication

* Had body mass index (BMI) less than 25 kg/m2

* Were never diagnosed with diabetes

Says lead author Earl S. Ford, M.D., M.P.H.,

“From a preventive health point of view, it’s important that individuals achieve as many of these goals as possible, and it’s disappointing that less than 10 percent of Americans are meeting them all.

“Our analysis suggests that achieving low risk status for most U.S. adults remains a distant and challenging goal. Unfortunately, the limited strides that were made towards this goal during the 1970s and 1980s were eroded by the increases in excess weight, diabetes and hypertension during more recent decades.”

If you’re concerned about your own risk factors, talk to your health-care provider about making changes that could protect your heart and make you healthier overall.

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