Heart disease and stroke-related deaths in the United States declined in 2016, and preliminary mortality rates for 2017 show the trend continued that year, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For heart disease, the rate of death per 100,000 people dropped from 168.5 to 165.5, and for strokes, the rate declined from 37.6 to 37.3. But according to the American Heart Association (AHA), although death rates continue to fall, they are declining at a slower rate than over the past several decades.
“Any improvement means lives saved, and so we are encouraged to see these numbers,” said AHA CEO Nancy Brown in a statement. “Yet, at the same time, this report shows we have much more work to do to save people from these devastating diseases.”
The new CDC data follows a decades-long push to reduce cardiovascular mortality by advocates and organizations from across the health care spectrum.
Separate CDC statistics show that the current mortality rate for heart disease is far lower than it was at its peak in the mid-1980s, when nearly 800,000 Americans per year succumbed to it. By 2015, that number had dropped to about 630,000, and now it’s around 610,000 Americans per year.
One initiative that is working to reduce deaths from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases is Million Hearts®, which started in 2012 and is co-led by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The initiative brings together 120 official partners and 20 federal agencies to advance evidence-based prevention efforts that focus on patients’ well being.
“Partnerships at the community level have had a tremendous impact on how patients view heart disease prevention,” said Cynthia Pamon, a subject matter expert on cardiac health with CMS. “Arming our communities with tried-and-true ways to advance heart-healthy behavior can go a long way in changing the way people act to prevent heart disease.”
Million Hearts® in 2017 recognized 24 health care professionals, practices and systems as 2017 Hypertension Control Champions. Together, the 2017 awardees cared for more than 1.2 million adults and represented a range of small and large health practices and systems.