Heart disease and stroke deaths decline, but risk factors common

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 11, 2008

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The mortality rate for heart attack and stroke has gone down significantly, but the American Heart Assn. is sounding the alarm that this trend might not continue because the numbers related to various risk factors are not moving in such a positive direction, according to a statement issued by the organization last month.

"Final Data for 2005," issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, reported that the age-adjusted death rate from coronary heart disease declined by 25.8% from 1999 to 2005. The numbers for stroke went down by 24.4%. Heart association researchers calculate that this means that 160,000 lives were saved in 2005.

But with cardiovascular disease risk factors such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, inactivity and tobacco use not declining as fast and type 2 diabetes and obesity on the increase, officials worried that this trend eventually will slow and reverse.

"If we don't make a concerted effort to reduce these risks, we will lose the momentum we celebrate today," said AHA President Dan Jones, MD.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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