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Heart Disease Health Center

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200,000 Heart Disease, Stroke Deaths Could Be Prevented

Less progress for Americans under 65, among other disparities reported


Each year in the United States nearly 800,000 people die from heart disease or stroke, many of which could have been prevented by proper medical management and lifestyle changes to control risk factors, Frieden said.

According to Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a spokesman for the American Heart Association, "Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States." Fonarow is also a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"Many of these cardiovascular deaths would be entirely avoidable with better implementation of preventative measures and effective treatments," Fonarow added.

Local, regional and national efforts are urgently needed to improve cardiovascular health and reduce death and disability due to heart disease and stroke, Fonarow said.

"Individuals can proactively lower their risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke by getting active, maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, weight and diet as well as avoiding smoking," Fonarow said.

"Adopting healthier choices and effective preventative therapies can have an immediate effect on one's cardiovascular risk and help avoid becoming one of these preventable cardiovascular deaths," he added.

The CDC believes communities and health departments can help by providing healthy living spaces, including tobacco-free and safe walking areas, and ensuring access to healthy foods.

Highlights of the report published Sept. 3 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report include:

  • In 2010, death rates were highest among those aged 65 to 74 (401.5 per 100,000 population).
  • Preventable deaths have dropped faster among those 65 to 74 compared to those under 65.
  • Compared to women, men are more than twice as likely to die from preventable heart disease or stroke.
  • Compared to whites, blacks are twice as likely -- and Hispanics are slightly less likely -- to die from preventable heart disease and stroke.
  • Avoidable deaths from heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure were higher among men (nearly 84 per 100,000) than women (about 40 per 100,000). Black men have the highest risk.
  • Compared to Hispanic women, Hispanic men are twice as likely to die from preventable heart disease and stroke.
  • Preventable deaths varied by state from a low of about 36 deaths per 100,000 people in Minnesota to a high of more than 99 per 100,000 in the District of Columbia.
  • By county, the highest rates of avoidable death were mostly in the southern Appalachian region, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The lowest rates were in the West, Midwest, and Northeast regions.

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