Appalachians Dying From Heart Disease Is Nearly 20% Higher Compared Nation

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Heart Disease

The Centers for Disease Control report that, on average, men and women living in the thirteen- state Appalachian region are dying from heart disease at a rate that is nearly twenty percent more than the rest of the United States.

In an effort to address this problem and find new ways to encourage heart health among Appalachians through social, environmental and medicinal outlets, the American Heart Association's Great Rivers Affiliate, the West Virginia Cardiovascular Health Program and the Centers for Disease Control partnered to develop the first ever Appalachian Cardiovascular Health Guide to Action Summit, which is taking place at the Charleston Marriott Town Center in Charleston, West Virginia, this Thursday, May 3 through Friday, May 4.

The summit was created as a means to bring all thirteen Appalachian states together in an effort to identify best and promising practices for Appalachian communities, which are known for having a high rate of heart disease -- the number one killer in the nation.


One outcome of the cardiovascular health summit is to develop an Appalachian Cardiovascular Health Network that will be dedicated to on-going efforts to improve the cardiovascular health of people in the region.

"We realized that something needed to be done as the numbers for heart-related deaths continue to grow and that the time for doing so is now," said Lisa Lee-Ranson, State Health Alliances Director for the American Heart Association in West Virginia. "This conference will provide a working atmosphere for nurturing new ideas and developing new practices to better understand this unique culture and heritage and to reverse these trends in cardiovascular disease."

The conference will feature guest speakers, including keynote speaker Darwin R. Labarthe, MD, PhD, MPH, from the Centers for Disease Control, and steering committee chair William Neal, MD, from West Virginia University. Speakers from East Tennessee State University, the University of Rochester and the American Heart Association will also be offering new ideas for improving health in these communities.

The states that make up the Appalachian region include Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.