American Heart Month: What You Should Know
With Valentine’s Day approaching, many of us have our hearts on our minds. We’re probably not thinking of them in the literal sense, but with February being American Heart Month, now is a great time to learn about heart disease and the risk it poses to all Marylanders.
Heart disease is consistently the leading cause of death in both the United States and Maryland. Although the mortality rate was 28 percent lower in 2011 (the latest year for which State data is available) than it was a decade earlier, heart disease continues to be a concern we should all take seriously, and take proactive steps to avoid. This month, we’ll discuss risk factors for heart disease, prevention strategies and other related topics here on the blog.
But we wanted to start with some facts about heart disease that may surprise you.
For instance, did you know that along with stroke, cardiovascular disease kills about 2,200 individuals every day across the U.S.? (Source: CDC: In 2011, it killed over 10,500 Marylanders of all ages and races. That’s about 29 heart disease deaths per day. For individuals 65 and older, heart disease was the leading cause of death for both men and women, white or black. Those most likely to die from a disease of the heart were white males ages 65 and above.
Those under 65 may be thinking they don’t have to worry about heart disease, but that’s not the case. In fact, heart disease consistently ranks in the leading causes of death among individuals ages 15 – 44. After age 24, deaths due to heart disease begin to increase among all demographic groups.
Finally, heart disease fatalities tend to differ by jurisdiction in Maryland. In Allegany, Prince George’s, Wicomico and Somerset counties and Baltimore City, the rates of heart disease deaths were significantly higher than the Maryland average. In Frederick, Montgomery, Howard, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties, the rates were significantly lower.
For more facts and statistics about heart disease and other health topics, please visit the Reports section on the Maryland Vital Statistics Administration’s website. For more information about heart disease and stroke, and to learn about Heart Month events around Maryland, click here.