Heart disease, stroke still top health threats

Heart disease, stroke still top health threats

As 2013 draws to a close, the American Heart Association is reporting sobering statistics about heart disease and stroke.

The life-threatening conditions remain the top two killers of Americans annually. Heart disease is the leading cause of death, with stroke holding fourth place as a leading cause of death.

The news comes from the annual Disease and Stroke Statistical Update, produced by the AHA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published this week. The report gives the most recent statistics available on heart disease, stroke and other vascular diseases.

Among the findings, the report said that one American dies every 40 seconds from stroke and heart disease with more than three quarters of a million people dying annually.

Cancer is a major killer but is dwarfed by stroke and heart disease which claim more lives that all types of cancers combined.

A bright spot in the report found the number of people who die from heart disease has dropped nearly 40 percent in the last ten years. Many of those saved lives can be linked to a 28 percent increase in the number of operations and clinical procedures sought by heart patients. Federal data shows more than 7.5 million procedures were performed between 2000 and 2010.

There was good news on the stroke front as well with the number of deaths from stroke dropping almost 30 percent. However, someone still dies in the U.S. from stroke about every four minutes.

The AHA says the primary contributors to stroke and heart and vascular disease are smoking, high cholesterol levels, sedentary lifestyles, poor diet choices, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Experts at the AHA and physicians say it’s critical for people to be aware of these contributing risk factors and make the lifestyle changes needed to prevent these life-threatening conditions.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.