Of the 800,000 deaths per year due to heart disease and stroke, at least 200,000 could have been prevented, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC officials say that stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, increased physical activity, lowering salt and managing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can all help to prevent some 200,000 deaths per year.
Not surprisingly, when the numbers were broken down, several key points emerged. Men, were more likely than women to die from heart disease and stroke and black men were twice as likely as white men to do so, making them the highest risk group surveyed. In addition, rates of preventable deaths were highest in the south. On the plus side, deaths from heart disease and stroke dropped by 29% between 2001 and 2010 but they do remain the number one cause of death in the U.S.
With the coming influence of Obamacare bringing many more people into the healthcare system thanks to more affordable health insurance, these rates could go down if people take advantage of their new access to medical care. Scheduling regular check-ups, getting high blood pressure and high cholesterol under control and living healthier will all help. “Americans need to take better control of their health and be more aggressive in controlling their blood pressure, their cholesterol, their weight, their exercise habits — and to stop smoking,” says preventive cardiologist Gina Lundberg, an assistant professor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
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Image courtesy of www.cdc.gov.