This week we’ve been focusing a lot on how stress affects heart health, and with the holidays right around the corner it’s a popular topic. But how do your finances and economic situation affect your heart health? According to this year’s American Heart Association report card, poor lifestyles equal poor heart heath.

AHA’s Report Card

Every year the American Heart Association takes a look at how healthy we are as Americans, particularly how heart healthy we are, and unfortunately the numbers continue to get worse. This year, they looked at the ‘seven markers of cardiovascular health: smoking, weight, exercise, diet, cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting blood sugar levels, as well as whether or not a person had a history of heart disease.’

Let’s start with the good news. “We have seen a dramatic decline in death due to heart disease and stroke,” says researcher Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, chair of preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, according to WebMD.com. Death rates from cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke have dropped more than 30% between 1998 and 2008.

However, heart disease and stroke still account for 33% of all US deaths in 2008, a scary statistic. The bad news from the AHA’s report card has to do with obesity, and high blood pressure. The AHA has found that 94% of U.S. adults have at ‘least one risk factor for heart disease.’ An amazing 33% of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, a precursor to many cardiovascular diseases.

And obesity numbers are raising as well, another key factor in cardiovascular diseases.  “The population overall is not taking care of themselves. When you leave it to the individual, the individual doesn’t behave well,” said Dr. Jacob Shani, chair of the Maimonides Cardiac Institute in New York City.

The Heart Healthy Benefits of L-Arginine

L-arginine has been shown to increase vasodilation, thus widening the arteries, allowing blood to flow freely, and ultimately lowering blood pressure. Since high blood pressure is a key risk factor for heart disease, maintaining a strict exercise routine and healthy diet with l-arginine supplements like Cardio Juvenate Plus can greatly improve your heart health.