Cleveland Clinic Finds Many Don’t Know Heart Health Numbers

CLEVELAND – A recent survey by the Cleveland Clinic has found that most American are concerned about heart disease but are unaware of the basic numbers relating to heart health.

In a telephone survey of 1,002 adults, the Cleveland Clinic found that while nearly half – 46% – knew their bank account balance, only 38% knew their blood pressure and 18% knew their body mass index, or BMI.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the country. Many risk factors, such as blood pressure, BMI, weight and glucose levels, are alterable, the hospital said. Many of those surveyed knew the risk factors, but could not pin down the healthy range for them.

“Studies have suggested the majority of coronary artery disease events can be prevented by addressing treatable risk factors,” said Dr. Steve Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic, in a release. “That means a little knowledge regarding your numbers could go a long way to helping keep your heart healthy and avoiding future problems.”

For reference, a healthy blood pressure is below 120/80 – 40% of Americans knew that, the survey says – and BMI above 25 is considered overweight, known by 23% of Americans.

The survey was conducted as part of Cleveland Clinic’s “Love Your Heart” campaign during American Heart Month. The hospital has been ranked as No. 1 for cardiology and cardiac surgery for 22 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report.

The survey also found that only a quarter of Americans know that HDL is “good cholesterol,” while 12% knew cholesterol screenings should begin between the ages of 18 and 24. And 52% knew that LDL cholesterol is an important number when it comes to understanding the risk of heart disease.

Just over a third of Americans know that fat in the stomach area is most dangerous for heart health, while 36% knew waist circumference was a determining factor for heart disease.

Nearly 70% of those surveyed said they had taken one or more supplements regularly to enhance their heart health, though there is little evidence to show such supplements can improve heart health.

The survey also found that many don’t understand the connection between heart disease and diabetes. 73% of those questioned didn’t know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for those with diabetes. The most popular response, at 35%, was kidney disease or failure.

“Heart disease causes one in every four deaths in the United States, so it’s troubling that so few Americans know the basics about their own heart health,” Nissen said. “Americans could take better control of their health by simply educating themselves about what factors are most important to their health.”

More information from the survey can be found here.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.