U.S. Adults Face Substantial Heart Disease Risk: Study11/05/12
MONDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- American men and women --
even those with a favorable health history -- have a significant
risk of developing cardiovascular disease in their lifetime, a new
Overall, U.S. adults have a more than 55 percent estimated risk
of developing cardiovascular disease, the Chicago researchers
Even among those with no major risk factors, the chance of
developing cardiovascular disease is more than 30 percent, although
it appears to strike later, the researchers said.
The study was published online Nov. 5 in the
Journal of the American Medical Associationto coincide with
its presentation at the American Heart Association's annual meeting
in Los Angeles.
"Lifetime risks for total [cardiovascular disease] were high regardless of index age, indicating that achieving older age free of total [cardiovascular disease] does not guarantee escape from remaining lifetime risk for total [cardiovascular disease]," the researchers said in a journal news release.
They added that the finding of a substantial lifetime
cardiovascular disease risk even among individuals with an optimal
risk factor profile highlights "the large public health burden and
opportunities for prevention of total [cardiovascular
The findings are from an analysis of data collected from 1964
through 2008 in five studies funded by the U.S. National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute. All the participants were initially free
of cardiovascular disease.
In this study, the researchers looked at major cardiovascular
risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels,
diabetes and smoking, and calculated the participants' estimated
overall lifetime risk (until age 95) for cardiovascular disease at
ages 45, 55, 65 and 75.
Here are some of the highlights from the study, conducted by Dr.
John Wilkins, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of
Medicine, in Chicago, and colleagues:
- At all age points, between 2 percent and 8 percent of
participants had no major risk factors for cardiovascular disease,
while more than 55 percent had at least one or two major risk
- About one-third of the participants of all ages had a
cardiovascular disease event, such as a heart attack, stroke or
congestive heart failure, during the study period.
- At age 45, the estimated overall lifetime risk for
cardiovascular disease was more than 60 percent for men and nearly
56 percent for women, the researchers found.
- Women had a much lower lifetime cardiovascular disease risk at
all age points compared to men.
- At ages 55 and 65, the lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease
was more than 50 percent for men and women who had high blood
pressure or high total cholesterol but did not have diabetes and
did not smoke.
- At age 55, men with optimal risk factor profiles -- normal
blood pressure, normal cholesterol levels, no diabetes and
non-smoking -- still had a lifetime cardiovascular disease risk of
more than 40 percent, while women with optimal profiles had a
nearly 30 percent risk.
Across all ages, people with heart-healthy profiles had a lower
lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease than those with at least
two major risk factors. For example, at age 45, people with optimal
profiles lived up to 14 years longer free of cardiovascular disease
than those with at least two major risk factors.
Dr. Stacey Rosen, vice president of Women's Health Clinical
Services of North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y., said
she prefers to view the research in a "glass is half-full" way.
Although the study "does conclude that the life-time risk for
heart attack, heart failure and stroke remains high, despite
optimal risk factor profiles, the data also demonstrates that those
individuals with optimal risk factor profile at age 50 do have
significant delay in the presentation of these forms of heart
disease," she said.
The results highlight the importance of early identification and
appropriate management of all cardiovascular risk factors, she
The American Heart Association has more about
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