Heart-attack deaths continue decline

Heart-attack deaths in Virginia have decreased for the 10th year in a row, and have fallen 45 percent over that 10-year period.

“Prevention is a key component to fighting heart disease. Maintaining a healthy diet and physically active lifestyle are among several ways to win the battle against one of our greatest health threats,” said Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell, who highlighted the news in a series of press events in Richmond on Friday morning.

The impact comes in this raw number – 1,872 fewer heart-attack deaths in 2010 compared to 2000.

“Exercise and diet play a significant role to leading a heart healthy-lifestyle. The two main reasons people have heart disease or stroke are high blood pressure and cholesterol,” said Virginia Department of Health Commissioner Karen Remley, M.D. MBA, FAAP. “In fact, nearly 68 million adults have high blood pressure, but half do not have it under control. It is important that screening for these conditions become part of our routine health care prevention activities.”

Virginia’s heart attack mortality rates for women – a group who can present different signs and symptoms compared to men – decreased by 49 percent from 2000-2009. The difference in heart attack rates between African-American and Caucasian women declined from 22 percent to one percent over the same time period, thereby significantly reducing this racial health disparity.

“The spirit of community unity to prevent heart attack incidence and mortality is clearly evident today as we gather to raise awareness about how this condition is affecting our state,” Remley said. “Thousands of Virginia’s doctors, nurses, emergency workers and others have clearly made cardiac care a priority in our state. Continued emphasis on prevention and treatment will help protect the lives of additional Virginians from the dangers of cardiovascular disease.”

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.

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