By Robert Preidt
In 2013, cardiovascular disease killed 801,000 Americans, the American Heart Association (AHA) report found. These are deaths from stroke and all heart-related conditions, which include heart attacks, heart failure, and valve and artery diseases. Coronary heart disease alone caused 370,000 deaths in the United States that year, the AHA said.
About 795,000 people in the United States had a stroke in 2013. These strokes caused nearly 129,000 deaths. Approximately 750,000 Americans had a heart attack in 2013. Those heart attacks resulted in 116,000 deaths in 2013, the researchers said.
The report also noted significant racial differences. The risk of first-stroke in blacks is nearly twice that of whites, according to the report. The research found that almost half of all black people have some form of heart or stroke-related disease.
The researchers looked at heart disease risk factors, too. They found that despite a 30 percent fall in smoking since 1998, nearly 19 percent of men and 15 percent of women in the United States still smoked in 2014. In that year, about one-third of adults said they didn't do any physical activity outside of work.
Between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012, the proportion of Americans eating a healthy diet rose from 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent among children and from 0.7 percent to 1.5 percent among adults. Even so, nearly 160 million Americans were overweight or obese (69 percent of adults and 32 percent of children) in 2009-2012, the research revealed.
During that time, about 17 percent of adults (13 million) were obese, according to the AHA's 2016 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update.
From 2009-2012, almost half of Americans had total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or higher. And, one-third (80 million) of Americans had high blood pressure, the report said. Nine percent of Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes and 35 percent have prediabetes, the AHA noted.
Forty-six percent of black women and 45 percent of black men have high blood pressure, according to the report.
The researchers also found that 31 percent of all deaths worldwide are caused by heart or stroke-related disease. Eighty percent of such deaths occurred in low- and middle-income nations. Stroke causes nearly 12 percent of all deaths worldwide, the report noted. Nearly 17 million people had a first stroke in 2010, according to the AHA report.
"We've made progress in the fight against cardiovascular disease, but the battle is not won," said AHA President Dr. Mark Creager, director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.
"We need to maintain our vigor and resolve in promoting good cardiovascular health through lifestyle and recognition and treatment of risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking," he said in an AHA news release.