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US heart and stroke deaths fall

18th December 2007

Heart and artery disease remain leading causes of death in the United States, although death rates for heart disease and stroke are falling.

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A statistical bulletin published by the American Heart Association (AHA) showed that an estimated 869,724 people died from heart disease in 2004, compared with 911,163 in the previous year.

It also noted that a growing number of Americans are overweight and obese.

Stroke is the third biggest killer if taken as a separate disease from other cardiovascular problems. More than 150,000 people died of stroke in the US in 2004.

An estimated 553,888 people died of cancer that year, making the disease the second-biggest killer of Americans.

The AHA predicts that 770,000 will have a heart attack next year, with 430,000 suffering a recurrent attack.

They also predict that 175,000 will have an undetected first heart attack.

It also projected that 770,000 would be hit by a stroke, and that about 600,000 of those would experience it for the first time.

Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of the AHA's statistics committee, said the fresh data showed that there was still a long way to go in educating the public about the risks of cardiovascular disease.

He said that while substantial strides had been made in understanding the causes of cardiovascular disease, further work was needed to implement prevention and treatment programmes.

Around 4,000 US teenagers aged 12 to 17 are thought to start smoking every day, joining the 46 million who already smoke daily.

And in a recent survey of high school students, only 21.4% of males and 18.7% of females said they ate at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables - the minimum recommended to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke.


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