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Death Rate From Heart Disease, Stroke Drops Off Over Decade
Date:12/15/2010

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The death rate from cardiovascular disease in the United States has declined 28 percent since the late 1990s, but heart disease and stroke still account for one-third of all deaths, a new study finds.

And the cost of preventing and treating heart disease is higher than for cancer or any other diagnostic group, an estimated $286 billion in 2007, according to the annual update from the American Heart Association.

"We haven't won the war," said Dr. Veronique L. Roger, lead author of the report, published online Dec. 15 in Circulation.

"While there are more people living with cardiovascular disease, there are also more costs in terms of dollars and in terms of the cost to individuals who are living with heart disease instead of disease-free lives," said Roger, chair of health sciences research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Comparing data from 1997 to 2007, the researchers found the number of inpatient cardiovascular operations and procedures grew by almost 30 percent.

These procedures helped to extend the average age of death from cardiovascular disease to 75 years, but that is still well before the average life expectancy of 77.9 years in the United States.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans continue to make poor health decisions that sabotage efforts to further reduce cardiovascular disease. For instance, in terms of risk factors for heart and stroke, the report found that:

  • 23 percent of men, 18 percent of women, and almost 20 percent of high school students smoke.
  • About one-third of U.S. adults (aged 20 and older) have high blood pressure, but fewer than half of those who are aware of it have it under control.
  • Two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. Nearly one-third of children between 2 and 19 years old are overweight or obese.
  • About 15 percent of adult
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