Are We Dying for No Reason?

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foxx_020113The leading cause of death in the United States right now is heart disease, and the question is: do these deaths have to happen?

Recently, a statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that in the United States in 2010, approximately 200,070 deaths could be directly attributed to heart attack and stroke could have been prevented! According to the September issue of Vital Signs, a CDC publication, approximately 56% of the deaths occurred in people younger than 65!

“These findings are really striking because we are talking about hundreds of thousands of deaths that don’t have to happen,” said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden. He noted that deaths due to heart disease and stroke are “tragedies that happen far too often.”

I could not agree more with this assertion. Frieden also asserts that “every year, about one out of every three deaths in our country, about 800,000, are from cardiovascular disease. For the first time ever, today we are reporting on the number of preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke.” These deaths are avoidable. As tragic as this sounds, it is completely true.

Although deaths from heart disease and stroke have declined in people over the age of 65, those under this age have a much better chance of dying from their disease. The CDC data also indicates that men are twice as likely as women, and African Americans are twice as likely as Caucasians to die of preventable cardiovascular disease.

“Not only are there big differences within the U.S., but if you compare us with other countries we are not doing as well as we could. The overall rate of cardiovascular deaths in the U.S. is about 50% higher than many similar countries around the world,” said Frieden.

Unfortunately, there is not a strong enough effort to practice prevention in our society and younger folk naturally feel they are immune to the ravages of chronic disease.

Health insurance rates are not what they should be in the U.S. and most physicians do not have the time to monitor patients and give them the advice they need to prevent adverse events from happening.

In my opinion, although the U.S. seems to lag behind other countries in this area, we can all take a great deal of substance from this report and insist that prevention is stressed in our schools, workplaces, community health clinics, hospitals, and government agencies. There are so many initiatives that can be employed that can lower the unnecessary risks of mortality associated with vascular disease. These initiatives can also lower the risk of developing these chronic diseases to begin with.

We are all responsible for each other and we need to talk to each other about the importance of becoming healthy and staying that way. The practice of personally investing in yourself to become a healthier person should be encouraged much like our society encourages and rewards the development of a career.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Brooks, M., “CDC: One Fourth of CVD Deaths Avoidable,” Medscape web site, September 3, 2013;, last accessed September 4, 2013.

“Preventable deaths from heart disease & stroke,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site;