If you are like most Americans, there is room for improvement when it comes to lowering your risk for heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease is the number 1 cause of death in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association, which has updated its checklist of essential components for ideal heart and brain health, adding a good night’s sleep to the mix, among other changes.
Using the updated checklist to score cardiovascular health for more than 23,400 adults and children, the AHA found the overall cardiovascular health of Americans is “well below ideal.” The results appear in the AHA journal Circulation. In fact, about 80 percent of the 13,500 adults (ages 20 to 79) included in the study scored at a low or moderate level.
The study measured cardiovascular health on a scale of 0 to 100, creating three ranges: “low” for scores below 50, “moderate” for scores from 50 to 79, and “high” cardiovascular health for scores 80 and above.
Just 19.6 percent of adults in the U.S. have “high” cardiovascular health, 62.5 percent scored “moderate,” and 17.9 percent were “low,” the study found.
Various research studies over the past two decades indicate more than 80 percent of all cardiovascular events may be prevented by healthy lifestyle and management of known cardiovascular risk factors, according to the AHA. So, it’s important to know what you can do to lower your risk.