Declines Seen in Cardiovascular Risk Factors From 1990 to 2010

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(HealthDay News) -- Among adults aged 40 years and older, cardiovascular risk decreased in men from 1990 to 2010 and increased followed by a decrease in women over the same time period, according to a study published online March 22 in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research.

Jung Ki Kim, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate 20-year trends in total cardiovascular risk, the prevalence of individual risk factors, and potential factors contributing to change in risk among U.S. adults aged 40 years and older.

The researchers found that men showed steady reductions in cardiovascular risk over the 20 years, while women experienced increased risk from 1990 to 2000 but decreased risk from 2000 to 2010. Significant sex differences in cardiovascular risk were nonexistent for those >50 years in 2010. Reduction in risk was largely due to decreases in the prevalence of high-risk lipids. Improvements in both blood pressure and total cholesterol were driven by increasing medication usage and effectiveness. In 2010, men and women had similar use of antihypertensives and cholesterol-lowering medications. Despite the overall decreases in cardiovascular risk, metabolic risk, measured by obesity and hemoglobin A1c, increased over time.

"Recent decreases in cardiovascular risk may lead to future reduction in cardiovascular events and mortality among both women and men," the authors write.

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