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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

From the CDC: Many Heart Disease and Stroke Deaths Preventable

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released new data from the Vital Signs initiative, reporting that nearly one-third of annual deaths in the US are caused by heart disease and stroke. Many of these—at least 200,000—deaths may be preventable, according to the CDC, with changes to lifestyle habits, such as quitting smoking, increasing physical activity, and reducing salt intake; community changes to improve living spaces, such as safe places to exercise and smoke-free areas; and managing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

      Alarmingly, Vital Signs also reports that 6 out of 10 heart disease and stroke deaths occur in individuals under the age of 65. Blacks are nearly twice as likely as whites to die early from heart disease and stroke, and black men have the highest risk of death overall.

      For health care systems and providers, Vital Signs offers the following strategies:

  • Use electronic health records to identify and support patients who need help quitting smoking or who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • Refer patients to community resources, such as smoking quit-lines and blood pressure self-management programs.
  • Track patient progress on the ABCS of heart health—Aspirin when appropriate, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation.

    Get more tips on what can be done to improve stroke and heart disease mortality at


     See Neurology Today's collection of articles on neurovascular disease and stroke: