December 2011 Clinical Laboratory News: CHD Prevalence Continues to Decline

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December 2011: Volume 37, Number 12

CHD Prevalence Continues to Decline

A new report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly found that the number of Americans with coronary heart disease (CHD), including heart attack and angina, has continued to fall since the 1960s. While this is good news, the report also indicates disparities in the decline by state, race, and ethnicity.

From 2006 to 2010, the number of Americans who reported being diagnosed with CHD by a health professional decreased from 6.7% to 6% according to the report, “Prevalence of Coronary Heart Disease—United States, 2006–2010.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to examine how different genetic and socioeconomic factors affected the disease’s prevalence.

The report credits the decline to reductions in the prevalence of high-risk populations for heart disease, such as smokers, patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, along with improvements in treatments for heart disease.

News Brief figure 1

In 2010, adults age 65 and older had the highest rates of self–reported CHD, 19.8%. People age 45–64 followed at 7.1%, and individuals age 18–44 years with 1.2%. American Indians/Alaskan Natives reported the highest prevalence of the disease with 11.6 %, followed by African Americans with 6.5%. CHD affected 6.1% of Hispanics and 5.8% of Caucasians.

New data from the study revealed how education affected a person’s chances of developing CHD. Americans with less than a high school diploma reported the greatest prevalence of the disease with 9.2%, compared with people who graduated from high school at only 6.7%. Those with a college degree were the least affected by CHD, with a prevalence of 4.6%.

Hawaii and the District Columbia had some of the lowest percentages of reported CHD cases. West Virginia and Missouri showed a statistically significant decline in the disease. The report found West Virginia down to 8% from 10.4% and Missouri to 6.0% from 7.7%. Southern states continued to see the greatest prevalence of CHD.

The full report is available Online.

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