11/07/2012 03:47 pm ET

Study Shows More Than Half of All Americans Will Get Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans, and the lifetime risk among healthy Americans remains dangerously high.

Despite the plethora of data on what contributes to heart disease, no study has calculated the lifetime risk of the disease for the average adult. So Northwestern University cardiologist John Wilkins and his colleagues pooled data from five long-running studies of U.S. heart health, and used them to calculate disease risks at various ages, and for people with different combinations of risk factors. Together, the data cover tens of thousands of people who were monitored and followed up for cardiovascular events for various periods between 1964 and 2008.

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