In a big sigh of relief for those affected with the cardiovascular diseases, a government report says such diseases can be easily avoided with few lifestyle changes.
The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that about 200,000 deaths a year from cardiovascular diseases could be avoided by bringing changes in our daily habits.
About 800,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease. But as many as 200,000 of the deaths from heart disease and stroke could be prevented if people make healthy changes including stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in physical activity, eating less salt and managing their high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, said the CDC report.
Although the rate of death (deaths per 100,000 people) from cardiovascular disease declined by 29% between 2001 and 2010, it’s still the leading cause of death in the USA, says the report. One out of three deaths in the United States is caused by cardiovascular diseases.
“These findings are really striking because we are talking about hundreds of thousands of deaths that don’t have to happen when they happen,” says Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC.
The current life expectancy in the USA is age 78 so if people died sooner than that it is considered early or premature, says the lead author Linda Schieb, a CDC epidemiologist. Preventable/avoidable deaths are the deaths from heart disease and stroke in people under age 75. If their risk factors (smoking, blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity) had been under control they should have lived longer. Such risk factors can be easily avoided by bringing changes in lifestyle and hence these deaths can be easily prevented.
D.C. registers highest preventable deaths in US
In D.C., the findings are more startling. The CDC report finds there were 580 preventable deaths in D.C. from heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure in 2010. That translates to a rate of 99.6 preventable deaths per 100,000 population.
The state with the second highest rate of heart disease-related preventable deaths was Mississippi with a rate of 95.0 per 100,000 population, followed by Oklahoma with a rate of 89.8 per 100,000 population. Virginia experienced a rate of 54.6 preventable deaths per 100,000, and Maryland had a rate of 65.1 preventable deaths per 100,000 population. But, both Maryland and Virginia are among the top four states that saw a greater variance in preventable deaths from county to county, according to the CDC.
•Rates of preventable death from heart disease and stroke are highest in the South.
• About 56% of preventable deaths from cardiovascular disease (112,000 deaths) in 2010 occurred in people under 65 years old. That number remained about the same between 2001 and 2010.
• The number of preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke decreased by 25% between 2001 and 2010 for people ages 65 to 74.
• Still, the highest overall death rate from cardiovascular disease was in the 65-74 age group with 401.5 deaths from cardiovascular disease per 100,000 people.
• Men have the highest risk of death from heart disease and stroke across all races and ethnic groups. Black men are most at risk.
• Blacks are nearly twice as likely as whites to die early from heart disease and stroke.
• Compared with whites, blacks have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, low consumption of fruit and vegetables and poor control of bad (LDL) cholesterol.