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CVD Risk Factor Levels Too High, Even in Best-Performing States

About half of cardiovascular deaths could be prevented with elimination of five major risk factors

THURSDAY, July 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) — About half of cardiovascular deaths could be prevented in U.S. adults if five major modifiable cardiovascular risk factors were eliminated, according to a study published online June 30 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Shivani A. Patel, Ph.D., from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated up-to-date preventable fractions of cardiovascular mortality associated with elimination and reduction of five leading risk factors. Data were included from nationally-representative and state-representative samples of the U.S. population, aged 45 to 79 years. Clinical definitions were approximated using corrected self-reported risk factor status in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for 2009 to 2010.

The researchers found that the preventable fraction of cardiovascular mortality associated with complete elimination of elevated cholesterol levels, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and smoking was 54.0 and 49.6 percent, for men and women, respectively. Independent correlations were seen for diabetes (1.7 and 4.1 percent for men and women, respectively), hypertension (3.8 and 7.3 percent), and smoking (5.1 and 4.4 percent) when the more feasible target of reducing risk factors to the best achieved levels in the U.S. states was considered. Southern states had the largest preventable fractions, and western states the smallest, for both targets.

“In summary, despite progress in the reduction of cardiovascular mortality over the past six decades, modifiable cardiovascular risk factors continue to be associated with half of the burden of cardiovascular mortality at the national and state levels, and the best achieved levels are far from the theoretical minimum,” the authors write. “All states can benefit from further risk reduction.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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