The recent JAMA study investigated national trends in cardiometabolic disease deaths in the U.S. during 1999–2017.
The results reveal that while the overall rate of cardiometabolic disease deaths has been falling since 1999, the decline was slower after 2010.
“Racial disparities in cardiometabolic causes of death persisted,” note the authors, who found that black people are still more likely to die of these diseases than white people.
Within the overall trend, the team uncovered differences among the conditions as follows:
- Rates of death due to heart disease fell during 1999–2017 but the decline was slower after 2010.
- Rates of death due to high blood pressure rose during 2010–2017.
“Our findings make it clear that we are losing ground in the battle against cardiovascular disease,” says senior study author Dr. Sadiya S. Khan, assistant professor of cardiology and epidemiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL.
Need for a shift in health strategy
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., where it kills around 610,000 people per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Dr. Khan states that the significant decline in deaths to cardiometabolic diseases up to 2011 has been largely due to improvements in their diagnosis and treatment.
What these recent findings suggest, however, is that there is now a need for the U.S. to shift to a new strategy.
The focus of the new strategy should be prevention if the nation is to achieve its goal of “living longer, healthier, and free of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Khan adds.
The new study draws on data from the CDC’s Wide-ranging ONline Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER).
The researchers used data on deaths during 1999–2017, where certificates listed the underlying causes as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or hypertension (high blood pressure).
To allow meaningful comparisons of populations whose age profiles vary over the study period, the team age adjusted the data “using the 2000 U.S. standard population.”