Annual Total Heart Disease Deaths On The Rise: Report

Total heart disease deaths are on the rise, and annual age-adjusted mortality rates are on the rise, according to a report in JAMA.

The research letter, published by a small team from Northwestern University and the University of Liverpool, used data from the CDC’s Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) collected between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2017. They looked specifically at age-adjusted data on causes of death from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or essential hypertensive and hypotensive renal disease. They also looked at age-adjusted mortality rates per 100,000 by sex and racial groups. Trends were analyzed using linear regression.

According to the study results, total deaths in 1999 were 725,192 from heart disease, 167,366 from stroke, 68,399 from diabetes, and 16,968 from essential hypertension. Total deaths in 2017 were 647,457 from heart disease, 146,383 from stroke, 83,564 from diabetes, and 35,316 from hypertension. The authors reported that an inflection point in age-adjusted mortality rates occurred in 2010 for deaths due to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Prior to 2010, there were 8.3 fewer deaths per 100,000 population per year than after 2010. The rates did not change significantly for stroke or diabetes between 2019 and 2017.

“These findings demonstrate a continued but slower decline in age-adjusted mortality rates from heart disease, a plateau in mortality rates from stroke and diabetes, and an increasing age-adjusted mortality rates for hypertension between 2010 and 2017,” the authors wrote in their letter.

The study’s lead author emphasized the importance of lifestyle and diet improvements, as obesity appears to be an important influencing factor in the changing trends in heart disease deaths.

“We know the majority of deaths attributable to cardiometabolic disease are preventable,” senior author Sadiya Khan, a cardiologist and assistant professor of cardiology and epidemiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a press release. “Our findings make it clear that we are losing ground in the battle against cardiovascular disease. We need to shift our focus as a nation toward prevention to achieve our goal of living longer, healthier and free of cardiovascular disease.”