Dr. Richard Heuser is watching as Americans kill themselves.
He isn’t watching suicides or gang violence. He’s watching generation after generation indulge in unhealthy heart habits — a vicious cycle that has made heart disease the nation’s top risk of death.
Americans, for the most part, are well aware of how to achieve a healthy heart. Heart disease is no silent killer.
"Heart disease is still the nation’s number one killer," said Heuser, a clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona and the Director of Cardiology at St. Luke’s Medical Hospital. "In the last 20 some years, there has been a significant reduction in heart disease. But people don’t understand what heart disease is all about. They don’t understand it’s acquired and it can be prevented."
The most recent American Heart Association Statistics show that about 80 million people, or more than one-third of the population, suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease. More than 850,000 will die from complications of cardiovascular disease.
With so many deaths related to heart problems every year in the United States, it’s no wonder why heart health is such a hot topic. The baffling part, though, is people are still partaking in the easily avoidable routines that lead to heart disease.
Dr. Denise Simons-Morton is the senior scientific advisor for the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. She said the number of people suffering from cardiovascular problems isn’t waning even as more information about heart healthy lifestyles becomes available to the masses.