While prevalence of heart disease and related deaths have declined nationwide in recent years, more than 82 million Americans — roughly one-third — have some form of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association.
Most people in the analysis had high blood pressure or at least one of the other risk factors.
The results shouldn't be discouraging, said lead author Dr. John Wilkins, an assistant professor of preventive medicine and cardiology at Northwestern University's medical school in Chicago. Maintaining an optimal lifestyle, by eating sensibly and staying active, is still the best way to live a long, healthy life, he said.
Heart disease remains the nation's leading cause of death, and the study reinforces the idea that "cardiovascular disease is part of the aging process," said Cleveland Clinic heart specialist Dr. David Frid, who was not involved in the research. Bodies wear out, "and ultimately, just exposure to living is going to cause people to develop some of these underlying problems," Frid said.
American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org
AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LindseyTanner