Deaths from heart disease have increased during COVID
Nov. 29, 2022 — Deaths from heart disease and stroke among adults living in the United States have been falling since 2010. But the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed that downward trend in 2020, new research shows .
It was as if COVID had wiped out 5 years of progress, bringing rates back to levels seen in 2015, the researchers say.
Non-Hispanic blacks and those under 75 have been hit harder than others, as the pandemic has reversed 10 years of progress in those groups.
Rebecca C. Woodruff, PhD, presented the results of these studies at the 2022 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association.
The death rate from heart disease has been falling for decades in the United States thanks to better detection of risk factors, such as high blood pressure, and better treatments, such as statins for cholesterol, he said. she stated.
The decrease in deaths from heart disease from 1900 to 1999 “has been recognized as a the greatest public health achievement of the 20th century“said Woodruff, who is an epidemiologist for the CDC.
The reversal of this positive trend shows the importance of people “working with a health care provider to prevent and manage existing heart disease, even under difficult conditions like the COVID-19 pandemic,” a- she declared.
Woodruff stated that “everyone can improve and maintain their cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by following the Life’s Essential 8 from the American Heart Association – eat better, be more active, stop smoking, sleep healthy, manage weight, control cholesterol, manage blood sugar and manage blood pressure. »
“COVID-19 vaccines can help everyone, especially those with underlying heart disease or other health conditions, and protect people from severe COVID-19,” she said. underline.
Andrew J. Einstein, MD, PhD, of Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in this research, says the results show “very concerning changes” in the decline in heart disease deaths over the of the last decade.
The results of the study emphasize that “as a society, we must make efforts to ensure that all people participate in the health system, with one goal being to improve heart health outcomes, which deteriorated significantly in 2020,” he says.
“If you’re not actively seeing a primary care provider, it’s important to find one that you can have a good relationship with and discuss with you about a heart-healthy lifestyle; checking your blood pressure, your blood sugar and cholesterol levels; ask you about symptoms and examine you for early disease; and refer you for more specialized cardiac care if needed,” he says.
Some study results
Researchers analyzed CDC data WONDER database.
They identified adults aged 35 and over with heart disease as the cause of death.
They found that the number of people who died from heart disease per 100,000 people (heart disease death rate) fell each year from 2010 to 2019, but increased in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. .
This increase was seen in the total population, males, females, all age groups, and all Hispanic racial and ethnic groups.
In the total population, the death rate from heart disease fell by 9.8% from 2010 to 2019. But this rate increased by 4.1% in 2020, returning to the rate it had been in 2015.
Among non-Hispanic blacks, the heart disease death rate fell 10.4% from 2010 to 2019, but increased 11.2% in 2020, returning to the rate it had been in 2010.
Similarly, among adults aged 35 to 54 and those aged 55 to 74, death rates from heart disease declined from 2010 to 2019 and increased in 2020 to higher rates than they previously did. had been in 2010.
By 2020, about 7 years of progress in lowering heart death rates was lost in men and 3 years of progress in women, the researchers said.