The American Heart Association is pleased to report that heart disease deaths are down by 25.8 percent and stroke deaths have been reduced by 24.4 percent since 1999. This means that the American Heart Association's strategic goal for coronary heart disease has been achieved, and for stroke nearly achieved -- ahead of time. The goal was to reduce coronary heart disease and stroke deaths and risks by 25 percent by 2010. The reduction in the death rates for coronary heart disease and stroke equate to approximately 160,000 lives saved in 2005.
The American Heart Association is proud of the progress this country has made against America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers. But our work is not done, since the major risk factors for these leading causes have not seen the same decline as the death rates -- and several are on the rise. If this trend continues, death rates could begin to rise again in the years ahead. While we have seen some progress in hypertension, high cholesterol and tobacco use, we still have much work to do on these risk factors -- and there has been very little progress in obesity, diabetes and physical inactivity.
This progress in the reduction of deaths is a landmark achievement, and has come about as a result of tremendous efforts from many partners in research, health care, government, business and communities.