When the news broke this week with the latest statistics about the leading causes of death in the United States, we knew the news would be good, and that we’d see a continued decline in heart disease and stroke. And we did! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), death rates for the leading causes of death dropped as follows:
- Heart disease dropped 1.8%
- Cancer dropped 1.5%
- Stroke dropped 2.6%
While that’s all great news, I’ll be honest. I had hoped this would be the year heart disease finally fell off the top spot…because we are so close!
Thanks to you and other supporters like you, we have reduced the number of people dying from heart disease each year, making remarkable progress over the last 12 years, falling 30% in that span. No other disease has dropped like that. Experts say the reductions in deaths can be attributed to ongoing efforts to better prevent, diagnose and treat heart disease and stroke, including:
- fewer people smoking and being exposed to secondhand smoke;
- improvements in emergency and more routine treatments for heart disease and stroke;
- lifesaving scientific research breakthroughs;
- changes in laws to build healthier environments; and
- increased awareness about healthy living.
The American Heart Association plays a key role in each of those efforts, through advocacy, scientific discovery, the creation and dissemination of science-based guidelines for treatment, CPR guidelines and training, and through public policy and education. If you’ve volunteered, donated, sponsored or spoken on our behalf, YOU’VE played a key role in helping achieve that unprecedented progress as well!
But we’re not there yet. More people than ever are now living with cardiovascular diseases and dealing with risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and unhealthy diets. In the U.S., 82.6 million people are living with cardiovascular diseases, including the after-effects of heart attacks or strokes. The good news is: we know how to change all that.
You are how we do it. And life is why we do it.