Heart disease: Get the facts, support Heart Walk

Published 6:20 pm Thursday, February 7, 2013

Come Feb. 19, hundreds of Pike County residents will take a lap around the Troy Recreation Center as part of the annual Pike County Heart Walk.

The event is designed to raise money for the American Heart Association, whose mission is to help prevent heart disease and strokes.

And it’s a worthwhile mission.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Cardiovascular disease – which most commonly manifests itself as heart disease or strokes is among the nation’s top killers. It reaches across all demographics: gender, age, race, socioeconomic status and geographic locations. And, in many ways, it is a silent enemy, slowly damaging the heart or blood vessels and leaving millions of Americans at risk.

While volunteers with the Pike County Heart Walk are busy during the month of February –which is Heart Disease Awareness Month – raising money and support for the Heart Walk, it’s important to be reminded once again how pervasive this issue is. Consider these facts from the American Heart Association:

1. From 1999 to 2009, the cardiovascular disease (CVD) death rate declined by 33 percent. However, CVD still takes the lives of more than 2,150 Americans each day, an average of 1 death every 40 seconds.

2. During that same time, the relative rate of stroke death fell by 37 percent and the actual number of stroke deaths declined by 23 percent. Still, stroke is a leading cause of disability in the U.S.

3. Smoking – 18 percent of students grades 9-12 report being current smokers. Among adults, 21 percent of men and 17 percent of women are smokers.

4. Physical Activity – Only 21 percent of adults meet the federal guidelines for physical activity.Among 9 through 12 graders, only 28 percent meet the recommendations.

5. Healthy Diet – Less than 1 percent of U.S. adults meet the definition for “Ideal Healthy Diet”; essentially no children meet the goal.

6. Body Mass Index – The estimated prevalence of overweight and obesity in U.S. adults is 155 million, which represents 68 percent of this group. Among children, 32 percent are overweight and obese (24 million children) and 17 percent are obese (13 million children).

7. Cholesterol – An estimated 32 million adults have total serum cholesterol levels ≥240 mg/dL, with a prevalence of 14 percent.

8. Hypertension – An estimated 78 million U.S. adults are hypertensive. About 82 percent are aware of their condition and 75 percent are using antihypertensive medication, but only 53 percent of those have their condition controlled.

9. Diabetes – An estimated 20 million adults have physician-diagnosed diabetes. An additional 8 million adults have undiagnosed diabetes and about 87 million adults have prediabetes.

10. Over the past decade, there have been improvements in both children and adults in prevalence of ideal levels of smoking, blood pressure, and cholesterol and declines in ideal rates of body mass index and fasting glucose.

We’re making progress, but much work remains to be done to improve the heart health of our nation. So do you part by supporting the Pike County Heart Walk efforts and the American Heart Association.