October 16, 2011
Percentage Of Americans With Heart Disease Decreasing
Better diets and lifestyle habits are being credited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a decline in cases of heart disease in the U.S., according to various media reports published late last week.
According to an October 13 AFP article, the CDC's random telephone survey of all 50 states found that just 6% of the American population had coronary heart disease (CHD) in 2010, compared to 6.7 percent in 2006.
The CDC study also found that self-reported cases of CHD were most prevalent in men (7.8%), Alaskan natives and American Indians (11.6%), and in those with less than a high school education (9.2%). Conversely, women (4.6%), Asians/native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (3.9%), and those with more than a college education (4.6%) were the least likely to develop heart disease.
Larry Husten of Forbes points out that "CHD prevalence was generally highest in the south." Furthermore, the fewest cases were discovered in Hawaii (3.7%) and Washington D.C. (3.8%), while West Virginia (8%) and Kentucky (8.2%) had the highest prevalence of the disease.
In addition to healthier eating, a USA Today article written by Steven Reinberg says that experts are also crediting improved high blood pressure and cholesterol treatments and a decrease in the number of adults who smoke for the results of the CDC study.
Reinberg also disclosed that the greatest decrease in heart disease cases were among whites (from 6.4% in 2006 to 5.8% in 2010), while CHD rates rose slightly among black Americans (from 6.4% in 2006 to 5.8% in 2010).
He also added that the rate of heart disease increased with age, with "almost 20 percent of those aged 65 and older had heart disease, compared with about 7 percent for those 45 to 64 years of age, and just over 1 percent of those aged 18 to 44" in 2010, according to the CDC statistics.
Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a UCLA cardiology professor at an American Heart Association (AHA) spokesman, told USA Today that the statistics "reflect the tremendous efforts" of the AHA, the CDC, and related organizations "to improve the prevention and treatment of heart disease."
However, he adds, "Even larger reductions in prevalence, disability and death can achieved" through improved education and prevention efforts.
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