Vital Signs: High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
The CDC Vital Signs program is a call to action each month concerning a single, important public health topic. CDC Vital Signs for February focuses on cardiovascular disease, specifically control of hypertension and cholesterol.
High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol:
Out of Control in the United States
For American Heart Month, the February edition of CDC Vital Signs focuses on cardiovascular disease, specifically high blood pressure and cholesterol, two of the biggest risk factors for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Every 39 seconds, an adult dies from a heart attack, stroke, or related disease. These conditions claim the lives of more than 800,000 adults each year, 150,000 of them are younger than age 65. The conditions are largely preventable.
- Cardiovascular diseases kill more than 800,000 adults in the US each year. Of these, 150,000 are younger than age 65.
- 68 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure.
- 71 million U.S. adults have high LDL cholesterol.
- Nearly 2 out of 3 adults with high LDL cholesterol and about half of adults with high blood pressure don’t have their condition under control.
- Having health insurance is not sufficient to achieve the control.
- Improvements in the way health care is delivered in the U.S. are needed.
Smoking Bans Could Prevent Tens of Thousands of Heart Attacks Every Year
New Institute of Medicine Report Finds Even
Brief Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Can Trigger a Heart Attack
Tobacco smoke can cause health problems not only for smokers, but also for people around them. Breathing secondhand smoke increases a person's risk for a heart attack and other heart conditions.
Learn More About the Relationship Between Secondhand Smoke and Heart Disease
The science is consistent, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). In the new report, Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence, the IOM draws clear links between secondhand smoke and heart disease and heart attacks. After an extensive review of scientific studies, the report documents the effects of secondhand smoke, including the following:
- Secondhand smoke can cause a heart attack.
- It is possible that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke could trigger a heart attack.
- Smoke-free air laws result in fewer heart attacks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, asked the Institute of Medicine to bring together an expert committee to review the current science on the relationship between secondhand smoke exposure, both long and short-term, and heart attacks.
Visit the CDC Office on Smoking and Health Web site for more detailed information about the IOM Report on Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects including
- Analysis of the report findings
- Animation of how secondhand smoke affects the cardiovascular system
- CDC statement on report findings