Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, with approximately 1 in 4 people dying from it each year. A third of Americans suffer from high blood pressure and/or obesity, which are leading causes of heart disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) recently reported that heart disease remained the number one cause of death among Americans in 2014, despite nearly dropping to number two below cancer just four years earlier.
Investments and studies to aid in the prevention of heart disease helped reduce the number of fatalities due to heart disease. Between 2000 and 2011, the heart disease death rate declined by 3.7% each year–a huge feat for researchers and the nation.
If that rate of decline had held steady beyond 2011, the heart disease death rate would have been lower than the cancer death rate by 2013.
The current rate since 2011 is falling consistently at a rate of less than at 1%. It may sound minor, but over time that rate can snowball into a worsened issue.
Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones of the Feinberg School of Medicine at the Northwestern University in Chicago reported that “Many in the cardiovascular community were poised to celebrate the ‘We’re number 2’ moment…Heart disease death rates came tantalizingly close to falling to second, and now the gap may be widening.”
The cause for the heart disease death rate declining slowly is thought to be the high percentage of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in adult Americans. Both severely raise the risk of heart disease and also are not dropping as researchers and doctors would like.
The amount of money, time, and resources that have gone into studies to increase awareness and prevention of heart disease leave researchers worried as to what it will take to see a true and consistent drop in the heart disease death rate.
The American Heart Association has set a goal to reduce the number of cardiovascular diseases by 20% by 2020. However, at the rate at which heart diseases are causing deaths, it may not happen. If they were to reach their goal, a 2% decrease of heart disease and strokes would be required annually.
Researchers are going to revamp their efforts in involving citizens via advertising, politics, and further studies to prevent any higher of an increase in the heart disease death rate. Ideally, it would decline enough to not be the number one killer in the United States.
Ultimately, it is up to us to make changes in our diet and exercise in order to achieve these goals and prevent further generations from dying of heart disease.