Many Deaths From Heart Disease, Stroke Could Be Prevented
April Flowers for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
According to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 200,000 preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke occurred in 2010 in the US. Over 50 percent of these deaths happened to people 65 years of age or younger, and between 2001 and 2010 the overall rate of preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke went down nearly 30 percent. The researchers indicate that lack of access to preventative screenings and early treatment for high blood pressure and high cholesterol could explain the differences between the age groups.
Key findings of the study include:
• In 2010, death rates were highest among adults aged 65-74 years (401.5 per 100,000 population). Preventable deaths, however, have declined faster in those aged 65–74 years compared to those under age 65.
• African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to die from preventable heart disease and stroke. Hispanics, in contrast, are slightly less likely.
• Males had higher rates of avoidable deaths from heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure (83.7 per 100,00) than females (39.6 per 100,000). The highest risk was found in African-American males, and Hispanic men were found to be twice as likely as Hispanic women to die from preventable heart disease and stroke.
• Avoidable deaths from cardiovascular disease by state ranged from 36.3 deaths per 100,000 population in Minnesota to 99.6 deaths per 100,000 in the District of Columbia. In 2010, the highest concentrations of avoidable death rates by county were primarily in the southern Appalachian region and much of Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. The West, Midwest and Northeast regions had the lowest rates.
The report suggests doctors, nurses, and other health care providers can encourage healthy habits – including not smoking, increasing physical activity, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking medicines as directed – to save lives from these preventable deaths. By promoting healthier living spaces, including tobacco-free areas and safe walking areas, health departments and communities can help. Another way local communities can help is by ensuring access to healthy food options, including those with lower sodium. The authors suggest that health care systems adopt and use electronic health records as this would allow them to identify patients that smoke or who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol and help providers follow and support patient progress.