Deaths from heart disease rose during COVID

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Nov. 29, 2022 – Deaths from heart disease and stroke among adults living in the United States have been declining since 2010. But the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed that downward trend in 2020, new research shows.

It was as if COVID wiped out 5 years of progress and pushed rates back down to 2015 levels, the researchers say.

Non-Hispanic blacks and those under the age of 75 were hit harder than others, with the pandemic reversing 10 years of progress in these groups.

Rebecca C. Woodruff, PhD, presented these study results at the 2022 American Heart Association scientific meetings.

Death rates from heart disease have been falling in the United States for decades because risk factors like high blood pressure are better recognized and treatments like statins for cholesterol are better managed, she said.

The decline in heart disease deaths from 1900 to 1999 “was recognized as a greatest public health achievement of the twentieth centurysaid Woodruff, who is an epidemiologist for the CDC.

The reversal of this positive trend shows that it’s important for people to “work with a healthcare provider to prevent and treat existing heart conditions, even during challenging conditions like the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

Woodruff advised that “anyone can improve and maintain their cardiovascular health and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by taking the American Heart Association Vital Necessity 8 – Eat better, be more active, quit smoking, sleep well, control weight, control cholesterol, control blood sugar and control blood pressure.”

“COVID-19 vaccines can help everyone, especially those with underlying heart disease or other health conditions, and protect people from severe COVID-19,” she said.

Andrew J. Einstein, MD, PhD, of Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, who was not involved in this study, says the results show “very disturbing changes” in the decline in heart disease deaths over the past decade.

The study results underscore that “as a society, we must make efforts to ensure that all people participate in the healthcare system with a goal of improving heart health outcomes, which have deteriorated significantly in 2020,” he says.

“If you’re not actively seeing a GP, it’s important to find one that you can relate to and talk to about heart-healthy living; checking your blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol; Asking you about symptoms and examining you to catch disease early and referring you to more specialized heart care if needed,” he says.

Some study results

The researchers analyzed data from the CDCs WONDER Database.

They identified adults aged 35 and older with heart disease as the cause of death.

They found that the number of people who died from heart disease out of every 100,000 (heart disease death rate) decreased every year from 2010 to 2019, but increased in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.

This increase was observed in the general population, in males, females, in all age groups and in all racial and Hispanic ethnic groups.

In the general population, the death rate from heart disease decreased by 9.8% from 2010 to 2019. However, that rate increased by 4.1% in 2020, returning to where it was in 2015.

Among non-Hispanic blacks, the death rate from heart disease decreased 10.4% from 2010 to 2019, but increased 11.2% in 2020, returning to 2010 levels.

Similarly, deaths from heart disease among adults ages 35 to 54 and ages 55 to 74 decreased from 2010 to 2019 and rose to higher rates in 2020 than in 2010.

In 2020, about 7 years of progress were lost in falling cardiac death rates in men and 3 years of progress in women, the researchers said.

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Deaths from heart disease rose during COVID
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