Heart failure rates are on the rise in the United States, according to new data from the American Heart Association.
In a recent report, the AHA unveiled that incidents of heart failure increased by 800,000 over the past half-decade. What’s more, the number of people with heart failure is expected to increase by 46 percent by 2030. This means an additional 8 million people will experience heart failure over the next 13 years.
What Is Heart Failure?
Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood and oxygen to maintain the health and function of other organs inside the body. While it is a very serious condition, heart failure doesn’t mean the heart has stopped beating. Still, the effects can be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in every nine deaths include heart failure as a contributing cause.
Why the Increase?
While they can’t say for sure, experts believe the increased prevalence of heart failure stems from an aging population and an increasing number of heart attack survivors, who are at a greater risk for heart failure. Still, there are also other contributing factors, including lifestyle habits that diminish heart health. According to AHA data, geographical differences appears to support this theory, since a majority of heart disease patients tend to live in rural regions with less education and lower incomes.
Reducing Your Risk
There are a number of behaviors and risk factors that can leave people especially vulnerable to heart disease. These include:
- Coronary heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Tobacco use
- Sedentary lifestyles
- Diets high in sodium, fat and cholesterol
- A family history of heart disease
If you have risk factors for heart disease, visit your doctor for a thorough evaluation. You should also commit to lifestyle habits that support heart health. These include eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables and getting regular exercise every day. You should also work hard to maintain a healthy BMI, since higher body mass has been shown to increase the risk of heart problems.