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December 2015 Issue

5 Eliminations to Prevent Heart Disease

It is clear that lifestyle is a powerful weapon in fighting heart disease. Five preventable risk factors account for 50 percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease among adults aged 45-79 years old, according to a new study:

1. High cholesterol

2. High blood pressure

3. Obesity

4. Diabetes

5. Smoking 

Researchers analyzed data from more than 500,000 individuals in this age group and found that if these five risk factors were eliminated, 50 percent of heart disease deaths among women and 5-4 percent among men could have been prevented. If, as a nation, we were able to do as well at reducing these risk facts as the residents of the best-performing states (Utah, Colorado, and Vermont), the result would be a more modest nearly 10 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease–related deaths.

- Annals of Internal Medicine, August 2015