Heart Attacks, Strokes in Middle-Age: The Numbers Are Frightening

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According to a Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. adults 35 to 64 are being hit hard by cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke. In 2016, about one-third of these serious, life-changing, medical emergencies — more than 800,000 — occurred in middle-aged adults, and about 80 percent of these premature heart attacks and strokes are considered preventable.

In 2012, the CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched Million Hearts, a national initiative to prevent 1 million cardiovascular events in five years by lowering the rate of key risk factors for heart disease. It’s estimated that this program may have prevented about 500,000 heart attacks and strokes, but more than 1,000 Americans died each day in 2016 from a cardiovascular event. In 2017, the agencies launched Million Hearts 2022, a new program that included a number of improvements.

Here are additional statistics from the CDC involving heart attacks and strokes in adults 35 to 64 — who are an important part of the country’s workforce and resources as parents, partners, and caregivers:

  • In 2016, about 775,000 hospitalizations and 75,000 deaths occurred in this age group.
  • Middle-aged Americans are less likely to take aspirin or cholesterol-lowering statin drugs as indicated.
  • Only about half of Americans 35 to 64 have their blood pressure under control.

Million Hearts 2022 is working with 120 health care partners, all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and 20 federal agencies to cut the number of cardiovascular events by lowering sodium intake, tobacco use, and physical inactivity by 20 percent, and improving medical care for people with heart disease.

Sourced from: CDC and JAMA