Heart Disease Leading Cause of Death in Area

| March 2, 2019

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in our nation, and our area is no exception.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 610,000 people die of heart disease annually in the United States. This is about one in every four deaths in the nation, making it the leading cause of death.

Additionally, almost half (48 percent) of adults in the United States have some type of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association’s Heart and Stroke Statistics 2019 Update.

Taking a closer look at statistics for Venango County gathered from the CDC indicate the age-adjusted rate of deaths due to heart disease from 2014 to 2016 is 354.2 per 100,000, slightly higher than the state rate of 342.6 per 100,000. The national rate of 324.3 per 100,000 is lower than both the state rate and the local rate.

Looking at a map of the region, Venango County falls into the same rate range of 344.5 to 360.6 as many of the surrounding counties. In fact, the map seems to show some regional differences, where clusters of counties often share rates in a particular range.

Some of the major issues with heart disease are lifestyle factors. Individuals who do not exercise, are obese, and smoke are putting themselves at a higher risk of coronary heart disease, especially when other risk elements are present. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and excessive alcohol use.

Inactivity, a poor diet, and stress play roles in developing heart disease, according to local health experts.

“A lot of people are overcommitted, stressed, on their feet all day, and exhausted,” said Franklin YMCA Membership Director Marcy Shoenfelt. “We need to get people to take a step back and look at addressing those issues in their life.”

Regionally, the age-adjusted rate of deaths due to heart disease was 347.1 per 100,000 in Clarion County, 351.7 per 100,000 in Butler County, 355.4 per 100,000 in Armstrong County, 350.5 per 100,000 in Jefferson County, 352.7 per 100,00 in Indiana County, and 345.3 per 100,000 in Elk County, all in the same general range as Venango County.

Glancing at nearby counties in the next highest rate range, from 360.7 to 383.8, we find Forest County at 374.6 per 100,000 and Clearfield County at 361.2 per 100,000.

Moving up the yet another step, to the highest range, from 383.9 to 479.1, the nearest counties are Mercer County with a rate of 394.8 per 100,000, Warren County with a rate of 388.6 per 100,000, and McKean County with a rate of 420.1.

Exercising is the key to a healthier lifestyle, according to Jesse Kelley, Branch Director for the Clarion YMCA.

“Cardio is where you get the most benefit,” said Kelley.

“Anything you’re going to do is going to help prevent chronic disease and exercise your heart.”

Tina Householder, the CEO of Brookville YMCA explained that “one of the biggest things we find today is that because of modern technology, we’re less active in our daily lives. Even if it isn’t an exercise program, we’d like to just get people to engage in more simple physical activity.”

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both spread throughout the week.

For additional recommendations from the American Heart Association, visit heart.org/movemore.

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Category: Local News, News