It’s easy to think of heart disease and stroke as an almost inevitable part of aging in a developed country like the United States. After all, they are our leading causes of death and disability. But the truth is that these are largely preventable conditions.
New estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that one-quarter of all deaths from heart disease and stroke are preventable. And that is almost certainly an underestimate.
According to a report, published September 2, 2013 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, among American adults under age 75, approximately 200,000 of deaths caused each year by heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure (hypertension) are avoidable and preventable. Surprisingly, more than half of those preventable deaths occurred among individuals under age 65.
During a press conference to present the study results, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said, “As a doctor, I find it heartbreaking to know that the vast majority of people who are having a heart attack or stroke, under the age of 65 in particular, and dying from it didn’t have to have that happen.”
It’s possible that the rate of preventable deaths is lower among those over age 65 because they are covered by Medicare, and so may be more likely to see doctors and receive preventive treatment.
Contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn, M.D., a specialist in female urology and women’s health. Don’t continue to suffer, call his office today for an appointment 714-912-2211 or visit his website at www.gordongunnmd.com.
Dr. Gordon Gunn also proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and surrounding areas.
Do-it-yourself approach No matter what your age and how good things look today, your future risk of heart disease, stroke and other related diseases is high. It’s true for all of us. That’s why it’s so important to do all you can to lower your risk: Don’t smoke. If you smoke, it’s never too late to quit. Your risk of a heart attack starts to decrease within weeks of quitting. Aim for or maintain a healthy weight. Take steps to help keep your blood pressure in the healthy range. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and limit salt intake. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to do the job, there are a number of medicines that work. Reduce your consumption of saturated and trans fats. This will help improve your LDL (bad) cholesterol level. Instead, use more olive oil and other unsaturated oils. Some people may also need a statin drug to lower LDL. Over the next 10 years, we have the knowledge and means to greatly increase the number of preventable deaths from heart disease, stroke, and from many other diseases as well. As a nation, we could take a huge step forward by becoming more physically active and adopting other healthy lifestyle changes.