Heart Disease, Stroke Continue To Be Top Health Threats In America

April Flowers for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

Each year, the American Heart Association (AHA) publishes the Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update in the journal Circulation. This year’s report reveals that heart disease and stroke remain two of the top four killers of Americans, as well as posing a significant threat to millions of others.

Reflecting the most up-to-date statistics on heart disease, stroke or other vascular diseases and their risk factors, the report is the only source for current prevalence data on cardiovascular health. In the US, heart disease is the number one cause of death and stroke is the number four cause. The update is compiled in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other government agencies.

Key findings of the study include:


*Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases accounted for more than 787,000 deaths in the US in 2010 – approximately one in three American deaths.

*Cardiovascular disease claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

*Including health expenditures and lost productivity, the direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease and stroke top more than $315.4 billion dollars.

*Approximately half of all African-American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, with the rates being just slightly higher for women than men.

Heart Disease:

*Heart disease kills almost 380,000 in the US alone each year, making it the number one cause of death.

*Out of the approximately 720,000 US citizens who have heart attacks each year, around 120,000 die.

*Each year, 620,000 Americans have a first-time heart attack, while around 295,000 have recurrent heart attacks.


*Stroke kills more than 129,000 people in the US each year.

*The death rate from stroke has fallen about 36 percent in the last ten years, and the number of stroke deaths has dropped around 23 percent.

*The rate of first-ever stroke is nearly twice as high in African Americans as in white people.

The AHA tracks seven key health factors and behaviors that increase risks for heart disease and stroke, called Life’s Simple 7, to track the cardiovascular health of the nation. These factors are measured to assess progress towards the 2020 goal to improve cardiovascular health of all Americans and reduce deaths by 20 percent. The seven key factors are: not smoking, physical activity, healthy diet, body weight, and control of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Life’s Simple 7 Key Facts:

* 18 percent of students aged 8-12 report being current smokers, compared to 21 percent of adult males and 16 percent of adult females.

* Approximately one in three US adults reports participating in no leisure time physical activity.

* Of US adults, less than one percent meet the AHA’s definition of “Ideal Health Diet,” while the number of children meeting the definition is nearly non-existent.

* Approximately 155 million US adults, aged 20 or older, are obese or overweight.

* Close to 43 percent of Americans have total cholesterol levels of 200 or higher.

* Approximately 33 percent, or 78 million, Americans have high blood pressure — only 53 percent have it under control, however.

* Slightly more than 8 percent of the adult population has Type 2 diabetes, but the rates are growing with nearly 38 percent of US adults having pre-diabetes.