HEART FAILURE: Death Rates Drop, Especially Among Blacks
The death rate from heart failure, which rose throughout most of the 1980s, "fell dramatically from 1988 to 1995, particularly among blacks," according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. The study found that 108 out of every 100,000 people over the age of 65 died of heart failure in 1995, down from 117 in 1988. The drop was most apparent among black men, as 3% fewer died each year from the "ailment which is marked by weakening and enlargement of the heart muscle," USA Today reports. "Previously black adults had a 40% greater likelihood of dying from heart failure than white adults. It has narrowed to 10% or less," said lead author and CDC epidemiologist Janet Croft (Sternberg, 8/7). The AP/New York Times reports that the rate fell 2% among black women, nearly 2% among white men and 0.5% among white women.
Broken Hearts Club
The CDC report said the drop in heart failure deaths among blacks could be linked to "better access to medical care and improved control of high blood pressure." They also credited the overall drop to improved heart disease treatment, including new drugs such as ACE inhibitors, "improved tracking by doctors of high-risk individuals and early intervention after heart attacks." Dr. David Meyerson, spokesperson for the American Heart Association, said, "We are on the right track. We have more strategies than ever before to help people live better, more active and productive lives with congestive heart failure." The AP/Times notes that heart failure affects about 5 million Americans, and is "the No. 1 reason older adults are hospitalized" (8/7).