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Almost half of American adults have cardiovascular diseases, the study said

And after decades of decline, deaths from cardiovascular diseases are rising again, with 840,678 deaths registered in 2016, from 836,546 in 2015, according to the annual report of the Association "Heart and Stroke", published on Thursday in the medical journal Circulation .

"Cardiovascular diseases cause huge health and economic burdens in the United States and globally," the authors write.

A 48% prevalence of cardiovascular disease – nearly 121.5 million adults – is a significant improvement over the rate indicated last year, although this was mainly guided by the way high blood pressure is defined. Guidelines for hypertension have been updated so that people whose blood pressure is 130/80 or above are now considered "hypertensive"; Previously, the definition was 140/90.

With the exception of high blood pressure, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in adults in the US is 9% overall, a drop of 11.5% in 2015.

Dr David Zhao, head of cardiac medicine and heart and vascular center at Wake Forest Baptist Health at Winston-Salem, North Carolina, described the new report as "a painful reminder" that heart disease is still the number 1 cause of death and disease in the nation.

"Overall, we have made a lot of progress," said Zhao, who was not included in the report. However, "we have not yet made significant progress in obesity, diabetes, and unhealthy behaviors," which includes smoking, non-exercise, poor nutrition and overweight. About 8 out of every 10 cases of cardiovascular disease can be prevented by controlling high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol and maintaining a healthy lifestyle by heart association.

The number of results also shows some extraordinary benefits. Self-active inactivity in adults has been decreasing since 1998, with the trend escalating in recent years. The passivity dropped from 40.1% to 26.9% between 2007 and 2016, the report said.

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Over the past five decades, smoking rates have also declined: about 51% of men and 34% of women smoked in 1965, compared to only 16.7% of men and 13.6% of women in 2015 .

The new report includes a new recommendation that adults receive at least seven hours of sleep at night to promote optimal health. A recent study found that too much or too little – more than eight hours or less than seven hours at night – is associated with a greater risk of death for all reasons.

"We really have to work hard to reduce all risk factors in order to reduce the rates of cardiovascular disease," Zhao said, highlighting obesity. Almost 4 out of 10 American adults and nearly 1 in 5 young people are obese, while 7.7% of adults and 5.6% of young people are seriously, the report said.

Additionally, not all groups have taken equal steps in quitting or never smoking cigarettes.

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"Significantly higher rates of prevalence of tobacco use have been observed among American Indian / Alanian citizens and lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender populations, as well as in people with low socioeconomic status, those with mental illness, people with HIV receiving medical care, and those who are active soldiers, "the report says. "Over the past six years, there has been a significant increase in the use of e-cigarettes in adolescents."

Overall, Zhao believes that "there is still a lot to do."

We can see a downward trajectory in some risk factors and cardiovascular disease itself, "but we are not there," he said. "It's something we all need to start thinking: What can we do together to improve our health, our healthy behavior and reduce our weight?"

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