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The Top Killer is Heart Disease, But Many Don’t Know About It

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The Top Killer is Heart Disease, But Many Don't Know About It

(CTN News) – Americans are not aware that heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world, according to new data from the American Heart Association (AHA).

According to a survey conducted in November 2023, 51% of Americans said heart disease was the leading killer and 18% said cancer.

According to AHA President Joseph C. Wu, MD, PhD (Stanford School of Medicine, CA), heart disease and stroke are the fifth leading causes of death in the United States, taking more lives than cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined. Most people are unaware of the serious effects of heart disease despite the fact that it has a significant impact on their lives.

Heart disease and stroke statistics are presented in Circulation by Seth S. Martin, MD, MHS (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD). In this report, the AHA Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee summarize the current data on the impact of these conditions worldwide.

Data show that nearly half of Americans (48.6%) suffer from some type of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and high blood pressure. 46.7% of all US adults suffer from hypertension, yet 38% are unaware that they have it.

According to the AHA, 931,578 people died from CVD last year, up by less than 3,000 from the previous year. There were deaths from coronary heart disease (40.3%), stroke (17.5%), other minor CVD causes combined (17.1%), high blood pressure (13.4%), heart failure (9.1%), and diseases of the arteries (2.6%).

CVDs are estimated to be responsible for 27% of global deaths in 2019.

“While each year’s report includes the most current research and statistics available, the historical data pulled from the collective work over the years is especially valuable,” Martin said. “This type of information is crucial to the development of awareness campaigns and policy strategies, as well as providing a road map for cardiovascular research priorities.”

It appears that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a slower impact than we initially anticipated, he said.

Statistical updates do contain some good news. Specifically, CVD death rates have fallen 60% since 1950 and strokes have fallen from being the third leading cause of death in 1938 to the fifth today. There has also been a dramatic drop in cigarette smoking from more than 40% in the 1960s to about 11% today, according to the report.

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