Clinical studies, laboratory investigations and population surveys show that certain personal characteristics and life styles point to increased danger of heart attack (coronary heart disease). These danger signs are called 'risk factors'. The well-established risk factors are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus and obesity. Other factors that may affect risk for heart attack are a sedentary life style, an aggressive response to stress, and certain drugs. In the past two decades, millions of Americans have learned about these risk factors and have tried to modify them favorably by seeking medical attention and by changing life style. Many adults have stopped smoking. The medical control of high blood pressure has greatly improved. The average cholesterol level of the population has decreased continually since the mid-1960s, probably due to changes in dietary habits and increased exercise. This attempt to modify risk factors almost certainly has contributed to the declining death rate from heart disease in the United States. During the 1960s, U.S. death rates from heart disease were still rising, but today the mortality rate from diseases of the cardiovascular system - including coronary heart disease - has fallen dramatically. Overall, heart-related deaths have declined about 25 percent in the last decade. Some of this decrease undoubtedly is due to better medical care of heart attack victims, but it is likely that a sizeable percentage is related to modification of risk factors. The American Heart Association (AHA) is committed both to prevention of coronary heart disease by controlling risk factors and to better treatment of patients who have heart disease. The purpose of this statement is to make the American public aware of the importance of risk factors and how they can be controlled. The AHA believes that each individual must assume some responsibility for preventing heart attack in himself or herself and in his or her family. Prevention of coronary heart disease demands a partnership between the individual and physician.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1985|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine