As the year comes to a close, reports from health authorities and advocacy groups are slowly coming. The American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2009 Update has just been released – with data from 2005 to 2006. The report gives some good and not-so-good news. On the one hand, US mortalities due to heart disease and stroke are down On the other hand, the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are still on the rise.
Some figures to think about:
- Mortalities due to CHD have gone down by 30.7%.
- Deaths by stroke have gone down by 29.2%.
- One out of 2.9 deaths in the US was due to cardiovascular disease.
- Coronary heart disease (CHD) was responsible for one out of five deaths in the year 2005
- Stroke accounted for about one out of ever 18 deaths.
- Heart failure was a factor in one out of 8 deaths in 2005.
“It’s really gratifying to see that coronary heart disease and stroke deaths are continuing to decline, and they have been declining since 1968,” first author on the report, Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones of Northwestern University, told heartwire. “Since 1999, our most recent benchmark, we have seen essentially a 30% reduction in those death rates, which from AHA’s perspective is particularly nice to see because we’ve already exceeded the goal set for 2010. So that’s fantastic, and it comes from a number of different things. But there’s also an important asterisk beside those figures, and that is, if you really drill down in the data, there are some concerning trends to suggest that among younger adults-and we see this best in women ages 35 to 54-there actually appears to be a slight uptick in CVD and stroke death rates, which may well be attributable to the obesity epidemic and subsequent increases in diabetes finally working their way through. So there is cause for celebration, but real cause for concern that we’re going to give back some of the substantial gains that we’ve made, because obesity and the aftereffects are going to start to come to the fore, and we’re going to be paying the price.”
The risks factors that triggered these concerns are as follows:
- Mean serums levels of total cholesterol were declining in older people (men 40 and above, women 60 and above) but not in younger adults.
- More that 66% of adults surveyed lacked exercise and did not meet the minimum 10 minute daily recommended vigorous exercise.
- Incidence of childhood obesity was up by 4% (children aged 6 to 11 years old) in 2003 to 2006.
Although the figures showed some improvement, it seems that AHA and other heart health groups have so much more to do before we can beat the monsters heart disease and stroke.
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