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Heart and stroke death rates steadily decline; risks still too high
Date:1/22/2008

The Guidelines hospital-based quality improvement program initiative, which now includes more than a million patient records, is just one way we continue to translate scientific knowledge into day-to-day practice.

Among those practice measures making a difference is better control of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both with lifestyle change and with medications. In addition, a variety of strategies to reduce smoking in this country have made a difference, including tobacco excise taxes, clean indoor air legislation and smoking cessation efforts. But not everyone is receiving the proven medicines and treatments that save lives.

Coronary heart disease age-adjusted death rates for women have dropped 26.9 percent since 1999. But, age-adjusted stroke death rates among women are down by only 23.7 percent, lower than the overall age-adjusted stroke death rate reduction and the age-adjusted stoke death rate reduction for men, which is 25.8 percent. The age-adjusted death rate for blacks is down 23.8 percent for coronary heart disease (compared to 25.6 percent for whites) and 20.3 percent for stroke (compared to 25 percent for whites.) These disparities in the outcomes for women and minority populations are echoed in the statistics for those living in certain parts of the country, such as the Stroke Belt in the South, and for those with lower income levels.

These disparities are unacceptable, Jones said. We are actively seeking ways to better address these issues so that we can ensure that every person has the appropriate care they need to live a healthier, longer life.

He said this will require reaching the American Heart Association goals for reducing the major modifiable risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Those include hypertension, high blood cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity and tobacco use. Because of progress in research, each of these risk factors can be controlled to goal levels for nea
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Contact: Cathy Lewis
cathy.lewis@heart.org
214-706-1324
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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