Heart Disease Growing Problem in US

by Emily Baird on March 1, 2010 at 6:28 am

One in two Americans will suffer from this disease some time in their lives, and that’s why it’s the leading cause of death among Americans.

WHIZ’s Emily Baird show us why heart disease is such a major problem in the US today.

"People tend to put it in the back of their minds. ‘Oh, that will never happen to me.’ So, it’s hard to make it urgent and say this is still what’s killing us in our country, " says community health planner, Jodi Stones.

Stones says people are aware that heart disease exists, but they don’t understand that it can seriously impact their lives.

"I think it’s become the ho-hum disease. We know it’s out there, but it’s so easy to shelf it, or we tell stories about our family. ‘Oh, my Uncle Joe, he smoked, drank, and never paid attention to his health, but he lived until he was 90,’ " says Stones.

Yet, every person is different, and the lifestyle choices you choose to make could impact you differently than it does somebody else. The choices you make every single day could increase or decrease your risk for heart disease.

"We did see a 25% reduction in death from heart disease, but what we’re also seeing is a rise in risk factors, " says American Heart Association communications director, Brianne Harman.

Harman says this rise in risk factors is counterbalancing that 25 percent reduction, and if those risk factors continue to rise, she says it could wipe out that reduction completely.

This is such a major problem among Americans that it is spilling over into our children. One-third of kids in the US suffer form obesity or being overweight, which can lead to heart problems. Medical professionals also are now finding type-two diabetes and high blood pressure in kids, which they used to mainly find in adults.

"There was a recent American Heart Association study that showed 12-year-olds with the carotid artery of a 40-year-old, " says Harman.

If this trend continues, it can produce major consequences for our children.

"Right now, they’re slated to be the first generation not to live longer lives than what their parents did, " says Harman.

I’m Emily Baird for WHIZ News.