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New Study Suggests That Half Of Heart Disease Deaths Are Preventable

shutterstock_130094798_230resizeAccording to the American Heart Association, heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases kill nearly three-quarters of a million Americans each year. They are also the primary cause of death, accounting for almost 30% of all deaths in the United States. However, according to a new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine, half of these deaths may be preventable.

During the study, researchers from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta looked at cardiovascular-related death rates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The researchers also tallied the rates of five so-called modifiable risk factors, or factors under an individual’s control, that affect the risk of cardiovascular disease. These factors included smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

The rate of death from cardiovascular disease spanned a surprising range across the nation. Mississippi was at the top of the list with 477 deaths for every 100,000 residents. This number is double the rate in Minnesota, the state with the lowest rate at 195 per 100,000 residents.

It was discovered that, nationwide, 4 out of 5 people had one or more modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It was also found that individuals in the southern portion of the USA tended to have more risk factors than residents of other states.

The results of the study yielded an interesting question. What would happen if these five risk factors went away — that is, what if smokers quit smoking, obese people found a diet/exercise regimen, and so on?

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