Heart Health

Heart Disease and Stroke Deaths Hitting Middle-Aged Adults in Large Numbers

Despite being largely preventable, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and other related conditions caused 2.2 million hospitalizations in 2016, resulting in $32.7 billion in costs and 415,000 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Many of these events were in adults ages 35-64, with over 775,000 hospitalizations and 75,000 deaths occurring within this group in 2016.

If every state reduced these life-changing events by 6 percent every year, the CDC said in a news release, one million cardiac events could be prevented by 2022.

A Vital Signs report from the agency provides new state-specific data on emergency department visits, hospitalizations and costs, and deaths due to heart disease and stroke. It gives states benchmark information to improve their residents’ health.

“Adults can seize the day using daily opportunities to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of CDC. “Many of these cardiovascular events are happening to middle-aged adults— who we wouldn’t normally consider to be at risk. Most of these events can be prevented through daily actions to help lower risk and better manage medical conditions.”

“The solution for this national crisis does not depend on a brilliant new discovery or a breakthrough in science,” said Janet Wright, M.D., a board certified cardiologist and Executive Director of the federal Million Hearts® program, which aims to reduce cardiac deaths and strokes by one million by 2022. “The solution already lies deep within every person, community, and health care setting across America. Small changes – the right changes, sustained over time – can produce huge improvements in cardiovascular health.”

The staggering number of cardiovascular deaths and hospitalizations arise from opportunities missed every day in finding and treating the common, controllable causes of cardiovascular diseases. According to the CDC news release, the Vital Signs report shows that:

9 million American adults are not yet taking aspirin as recommended.

40 million adults with high blood pressure are not yet under safe control.

39 million adults can benefit from managing their cholesterol.

54 million adults are smokers – most of whom want to quit.

71 million adults are not physically active.

In order to improve America’s cardiovascular health everyone must act on these opportunities.

This Vital Signs report is based on data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project databases, the National Vital Statistics System, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and the National Health Interview Survey.

For more information about this report, click here. To learn more about heart disease and stroke, click here and here. To learn more about the Million Hearts® program, click here.  

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