Latest Heart News
By Katrina Woznicki
WebMD Health News
Reviewed By Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC
April 26, 2010 -- Nearly half of the U.S. population has at least one of three diagnosed or undiagnosed chronic conditions -- high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes -- all major risk factors for heart disease, the leading cause of death among Americans, according to a new CDC study.
Data collected from the ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that 45% of Americans had one of these three conditions either diagnosed or undiagnosed; 13% of adults had two of these conditions, and 3% had all three conditions. CDC researchers also found that 15% of adults also had one or more of these conditions undiagnosed.
It is well known that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes all increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, a condition that affects more than 81 million Americans and accounts for one out of every three deaths in the U.S. What is less known is the co-existence of these three conditions based on race/ethnicity, as well as the prevalence of diagnosed vs. undiagnosed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes among these groups.
The study shows that about 8% of adults have undiagnosed high blood pressure, 8% have undiagnosed high cholesterol, and 3% of have undiagnosed diabetes. The proportion of adults with these undiagnosed conditions was similar across racial/ethnic groups.
The study also shows that:
- Non-Hispanic blacks had a much higher prevalence of high blood pressure (42.5%) when compared with non-Hispanic whites (29.1%) and Mexican-Americans (26.1%).
- Non-Hispanic whites had a higher prevalence of high cholesterol (26.9%) when compared with non-Hispanic blacks (21.5%) and Mexican-Americans (21.8%).
- Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic blacks had a significantly higher prevalence of diabetes -- 15.3% and 14.6%, respectively, compared with 9.9% among non-Hispanic whites.
The CDC researchers also found that non-Hispanic blacks were more likely than non-Hispanic whites and Mexican-Americans to have at least one of the three conditions either diagnosed or undiagnosed.
The impact of these three conditions individually is substantial:
- An estimated 18 million Americans have diagnosed diabetes and 5.7 million Americans have undiagnosed diabetes.
- More than 102 million U.S. adults have elevated cholesterol levels -- meaning a total blood cholesterol measurement of 200 mg/dL or higher -- and 35.7 million among this group have cholesterol levels 240 mg/dL or higher and are considered high risk.
- High blood pressure accounted for more than 56,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2006; about 74.5 million people age 20 and older have high blood pressure.
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American Heart Association: "Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics," "Cholesterol Statistics," High Blood Pressure Statistics."
American Diabetes Association: "Diabetes Statistics."
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