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CDC: 1 in 4 cardiovascular-related deaths avoidable

Deaths linked to heart disease and stroke would be reduced 25 percent if people quit smoking, limited salt intake and adopted other healthy habits, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

At least 200,000 deaths a year in the United States from cardiovascular diseases are avoidable, with men twice as likely as women to die from such circumstance, and blacks succumbing at double the rate of whites, the CDC said yesterday in a report. The U.S. South carries the highest rate of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death in the United States, killing almost 800,000 people a year, the agency said. The rate of preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke fell 30 percent from 2001 to 2010, though there wasn't much improvement in those younger than 65, the CDC said.

"Despite progress against heart disease and stroke, hundreds of thousands of Americans die each year from these preventable causes of death," CDC director Thomas R. Frieden, said in a statement. "Many of the heart attacks and strokes that will kill people in the coming year could be prevented by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol and stopping smoking."

Heart disease includes coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack.

The state with the lowest rate of avoidable cardiovascular deaths, at 36.3 per 100,000 people, is Minnesota, according to the report. Washington, D.C., topped the list at 99.6 per 100,000. Black men have the most to be worried about with an avoidable death rate in 2010 that is about 80 percent higher than that of white males and black females, the CDC said. The rate of preventable heart disease or stroke deaths among black men was about 150 per 100,000 people, the agency reported.The CDC recommended people manage risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol and diabetes, by working with their doctors, engaging in moderately intense exercise, eating a healthy diet low in sodium and trans fats and stopping smoking.

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