Why not live longer? Join the fight against heart disease and stroke

Dec 27 2013 - 10:20am
A heart attack sufferer

Heart disease and stroke are killing off Americans faster than bullets in overseas wars. We would like to think that with all of the media hype surrounding the need for healthier lifestyles and better nutrition to fight heart disease and stroke that we would be seeing dramatic improvements in dealing with these conditions. However, all around us we still see an epidemic of obesity, chronic alcohol and drug abuse, and lazy people who refuse to commit themselves to a daily exercise regimen. This has all lead to a continued high rate of heart disease and stroke.

Heart disease and stroke are continuing to threaten U.S. health, reports the American Heart Association. According to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update 2014, published in its journal Circulation, heart disease and stroke continue to be among the top killers of Americans and they pose a serious threat to millions of others.

In 2010 there were greater than 787,000 people in the U.S. who died from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. This means about one of every three deaths in America was due to these conditions. Every single day approximately 2,150 Americans die from these diseases. This is one American death every 40 seconds from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

Deaths due to cardiovascular diseases steal more lives than all forms of cancer considered together. At this time it is estimated there are about 83.6 million Americans who are living with some type of cardiovascular disease or the serious effects of stroke. The total costs of cardiovascular diseases and stroke are greater than $315.4 billion. This includes a consideration of health care expenses and lost productivity. Just about 50 percent of all African-American adults suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease.

Worldwide, heart disease is the leading cause of death as it is in the United States. Every year heart disease kills about 380,000 Americans, which is more than deaths from auto accidents, murder and terrorism combined. Heart disease is responsible for 1 in 6 deaths in the United States. Every 90 seconds another person in the United States dies from heart disease.

Although statistics show that over the past decade the death rate from heart disease has fallen approximately 39 percent, this remains a catastrophically serious problem. Every 34 seconds another American is hit with heart disease. As the number 1 killer in the United States, heart disease steals almost 380,000 lives a year. Among women heart disease takes more lives than all forms of cancer together.

Between 2000 to 2010 cardiovascular operations and procedures increased approximately 28 percent. Every single year about 720,000 people in the United States suffer from heart attacks, and of those there are about 122,000 deaths. There are about 620,000 people who are hit with their first heart attack every year in the United States. And there are about 295,000 Americans who have recurrent heart attacks every year.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, stealing more than 129,000 lives a year. Just about every four minutes someone in the United States is killed by stroke. Although the death rate from stroke has dropped approximately 36 percent and the number of stroke deaths has fallen about 23 percent over the past 10 years, the problem remains staggering.

Approximately 795,000 Americans have a stroke every year. Every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke. Every four minutes someone in the United States dies from a stroke. Stroke is a leading cause of preventable disability in the United States which causes 1 of every 19 deaths in the country. African-Americans have a significantly increased risk for a first time stroke than whites, with a much higher death rate. I have written about why stroke numbers are increasing and how it can be prevented, in a separate article for Emaxhealth.

The cardiovascular health of the nation is gauged by the American Heart Association by tracking seven key health factors and behaviors which increase risks for heart disease and stroke. These are called “Life’s Simple 7™” and include:

1: Not smoking

2: Physical activity

3: Healthy diet

4: Body weight


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5: Control of cholesterol

6: Control of blood pressure

7: Control of blood sugar

In a separate article for Emaxhealth I have written on Mediterranean Sofrito as being a delicious way to lower heart disease risk.


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I have early onset arthritis so I'm limited as to what I can do. Any suggestions?
Hello Sharon: Kathleen Blanchard's suggestion of water exercises is very good. Also, keep in mind that it is important for people with RA, as well as other inflammatory disorders, such as ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, scleroderma and reactive arthritis, to make lifestyle changes aimed at reducing cardiovascular risk factors. Modifying these risk factors, such as quitting smoking and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, may help to reduce the known increased risk of cardiovascular problems in people with RA.
Hi Sharon - I was waiting for Dr. Mandel to respond and I'm sure he also has suggestions. As a nurse, I recommend water exercises. They are the best. Get in a pool, but definitely get specific guidelines from your doctor. If your arthritis is mild, just walking is great. You never want to stress the joints too much because then you end up in pain and with more inflammation, which is why your doctor can really guide you for what is best for you.