Recently published in JAMA, a new study sought to investigate national trends in deaths resulting from cardiometabolic disease. The study looked at cardiometabolic related deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2017.
Although the rate of deaths associated with heart disease has been dwindling since 1989, the rate of decline was slower after 2010. Deaths from stroke and diabetes also declined up until 2010, after which rates leveled out. Deaths associated with high blood pressure rose during the same timeframe.
Much of the decline in fatalities up until 2011 can be attributed to improvements in diagnostics and treatment options. With heart conditions still killing about 610,000 people per year (CDC), it is clearly time for changes in how we approach cardiovascular concerns. Rather than continuing to focus on diagnostics and treatments, the focus should now be shifted towards prevention.
Many of the heart conditions responsible for premature deaths can be prevented through lifestyle changes. With many Americans living largely sedentary lifestyles, it’s no wonder cardiovascular diseases kill more Americans than any other cause. Not only can diet and exercise prevent most of these cases from ever occurring, but they can also help to treat persons in any stage of the disease.
The first author of the study, Dr. Nilay Shah suggests that physical activity, healthy diet, not smoking, and keeping a healthy body weight are “cornerstones“ of heart disease prevention.
It’s also important to note that prevention should not start after the development of disease. To maintain cardiovascular health, persons should get into the habit of exercising regularly and preparing healthy meals early on. This can prevent disease before it begins to deteriorate a person's quality of life.
In the above video, from John Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Roger Blumenthal discusses the newest guidelines on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease from the American Heart Association.