Roughly 60.000 American citizens die from heart disease on a yearly basis. That’s more lives taken by heart related illnesses than by fatal diseases such as cancer. And to make matters worse, a new study conducted by Emory University has found that half of those 60.000 are perfectly preventable, people just need a little discipline.
To put things in perspective, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) inform that the situation is so severe that one in four (1 in 4) deaths are in fact caused by heart disease.
Medical experts have long warned that an unhealthy diet rich in trans fats and sugar can easily lead to conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart related issues such as heart attacks or strokes. The new study merely enforces these same findings.
For their study, published earlier this week, on Monday (June 29, 2015), in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the team from Emory University examined data gathered by national surveys conducted by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), between the year of 2009 and 2010.
The main risk factors associated with heart disease are obesity, diabetes, smoking, elevated cholesterol and hypertension. The researchers had the goal of trying to figure out just how much the number of cardiovascular deaths could be reduced if all of the 50 states diminished the risk posed by these factors.
The results were awe-inspiring as they revealed that roughly half of these deaths would not exist if the above mentioned risk factors were to be entirely eliminated. While this would be the ideal scenario, the experts also realize that it is next to impossible to achieve.
As a more feasible alternative, they looked at what would happen if all of the 50 states were to reduce the five (5) main risk factors to the levels that have been found among age and gender demographics in the top five (5) performing states for each of these factors.
Dr. Shivani Patel, lead author and member of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health (Atlanta, Georgia), gave a statement to CBS News saying that the top performing states turned out to be Colorado, Vermont and Utah, for men as well as for women.
He went on to explain that about 7 percent (7%) of cardiovascular deaths recorded among men with the age between 45 and 54 “could be prevented if all states reduced their current smoking rates for that population to average smoking levels in the best performing states for that risk factor”.
On top of that, something like 8 percent (8%) of cardiovascular deaths recorded among women with the age between 55 and 64 could be avoided as well if hypertension rates were to be reduced to levels matching those found in the top performing stares related to that specific risk factor.
Dr. Patel stressed that one of the main take-away messages that she and her colleagues are trying to bring into the public’s attention is that there is a great potential to prevent many of these deaths from happening, and insists that if all of the 50 states would have something ti gain from such a scenario.
It is important to note that the total number of deaths caused by heart attack and strokes has been steadily on decline during these last 30 years, mainly because of the advancement of technology and the development of better treatments.
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