After looking at 20 years of information on the subject, and even though campaigns have been launched all over the country, people are getting fatter, younger.

We know more than ever about heart disease risk factors and preventative lifestyle changes, but in spite of all that, we’re still seeing patients with severe heart attacks becoming younger and more obese.  What’s even worse is that those patients are more likely than ever to have preventable risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, COPD and more.

A new study which is scheduled to be released at the American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session, analyzed heart disease risk factors in over 3,900 patients.  Each of these patients had been treated for ST-elevation myocardial infarcation within a 20 year period.  While treatment seems to be handled well, prevention is still lacking.

Samir Kapadia, M.D., the study’s primary investigator and section head for interventional cardiology at Cleveland Clinic, says “When people come for routine checkups, it is critical to stress the importance of reducing risk factors through weight reduction, eating a healthy diet and being physically active.”

The findings of this study were all significant and often shocking.  Each category showed a steady increase in risk factors, and also showed an increase in the number of patients having three or more major risk factors (65% at the beginning of the study and 85% at the end).

Diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, COPD and smoking were 5 areas studied.  In each case, the percentage of patients with these risk factors increased substantially.

What this means carries a strong message not only for the medical community, but also for the general public.  We need to help propagate awareness even more and get the word out that these factors, all of which are preventable, are key concerns for overall health and must be addressed.  If you’re a smoker, quit.  If you’re overweight, become more active and modify your diet to include healthy alternatives.  Diabetes can be managed through weight reduction and diet.

Help spread the word and together we can save a life – or a million.

Live healthy America!