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Heart disease occurs mostly among the aged population. However, there are still many cases among younger individuals. The Utah Department of Health (2015) states that heart diseases are a class of conditions involving the heart and blood vessels comprising of coronary heart disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathies, inflammatory heart diseases, and abnormalities in the heart rhythm among many others. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart troubles affecting the American population through killing many people. Coronary artery disease is a principal cause of death for both young and older men and women. However, 81% of all mortality cases associated with this trouble occur among the people aged 65 years or more (Jackson & Wenger, 2011, p. 700). The risk factors for heart diseases are the same ones as those among young people mostly comprising of their physical inactivity, hypertension, obesity, tobacco smoking, and family history among many others. Therefore, heart trouble is common in Utah, just like in the US and the whole world. An immediate action should be taken to curb its effects given that most of its risk factors are modifiable.
Cardiovascular disease continues to threaten the lives of many people in the United States and the world as a whole. These conditions have resulted in an increase in healthcare costs and many mortality incidences, especially among the aging population impacted most of all by this disease (Heidenreich et al., 2011, p. 933). Odden et al. (2011, p. 827) explain that the demographic shift towards the older population in the US is related to baby boomers and an increased lifespan. Therefore, it will lead to a higher cardiovascular disease burden. Stroke and heart diseases are the major contributors to the severe outcomes of cardiovascular troubles because of their prevalence among the American population. The increase in the proportion of the aging individuals means that the disease will continue to be a threat even in the future if there is no immediate and appropriate action.
Prevalence of Heart Disease
Heart diseases are common in Utah. However, their prevalence is slightly lower than at the national level. In the US, more than 610,000 people die of heart trouble every year. It is the number that equates to 25% of all the deaths in the country (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2015). Moreover, the recent research reveals that 27.6 million individuals in the state are living with the already diagnosed heart disease with 11.5% of the adults affected (CDC, 2016). The incidence rate of heart troubles is 192.7 per 100,000 persons (CDC, 2016). Coronary heart disease is a primary killer of all the heart sicknesses claiming the lives of more than 370,000 individuals every year (Odden et al., 2011, p. 828). Heart attacks are also common among the American population. According to the CDC (2015), in average 735,000 people in the US die from heart strokes annually, with 525,000 of them having them for the first time and 210,000 of the cases recurring among the individuals who have already experienced a heart trouble before. As of 2012, more than 2.4% of the population in the country had a heart failure with the high prevalence rate among aged people (Vigen, Maddox, & Allen, 2012, p. 370). These figures show that heart diseases are a devastating burden to the lives of many Americans, especially the aging individuals.
Furthermore, heart troubles seem to worsen in the case of a failure to adopt an effective treatment and preventive strategies. Failing to adjust treatments or risk factors to coronary heart disease in the US will result in a projected increase in the incidence rate of coronary heart troubles by about 26% from 981,000 to 1.234 million in 2010 to 2040 and the subsequent prevalence of 47% from 11.7 million to more than 17.3 million in the same period (Odden et al., 2011, p. 827). In Utah, the incidence and prevalence rates have decreased. The Utah Department of Health (2013) explains that levels dropped from 65 in every 100,000 people per month in 2001 to as low as 35 people in 100,000 every month in 2010. The Appendix 3 shows the dropping rates for this period. The further research indicates that other than varying with age, the conditions show some variations in race, gender, and geographical differences. The Appendices 1 and 2 from the Utah Department of Health (2013) demonstrate the alternations in deaths due to heart disease by race, age, and gender respectively. The statistics from the state of Utah show that heart trouble prevalence and incidence rates are lower than those of the whole country. For instance, in 2011, heart disease mortality rates were 140.9 per 100,000 people in Utah compared to 180.1 per 100,000 people in the US (Utah Department of Health, 2013). Therefore, heart trouble is likely to worsen in future. Its occurrences vary with age, race, and gender although the rates at the national level are higher than those in Utah.
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
The prevalence and incidence rates of heart disease among the Americans grow with an increase in the levels of physical inactivity or sedentary lifestyles, smoking, overweight or obesity, hypertension or high cholesterol levels among many others. Holmes et al. (2012) reiterate that the non-Hispanic whites smoke more than the black and white Americans. Therefore, their unhealthy behavior that predisposes individuals to hypertension is one of the leading causes of heart disease. However, the Hispanics, just like any other race in the US, have a higher chance of getting heart troubles. The American Heart Association (2013a) explains that the Utahan Hispanics have a high risk of heart diseases and strokes because of their unhealthy lifestyle habits. It is related to the fact that 66% of them are obese or overweight, 25% are hypertensive, 67% are physically inactive, and 10% are diabetics. In this state, the majority of risk factors for these troubles among the Latinos is higher than the Utah State coverage (American Heart Association, 2013a). However, many other groups in both the State of Utah and the US, in general, are at a greater risk of heart attacks if they engage in unhealthy behaviors.
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Furthermore, unhealthy lifestyles involving the level of physical activity, unhealthy diets, and obesity predispose individuals to both obesity and cardiovascular diseases of which heart troubles make a part. Leading sedentary lifestyles full of physical inactivity increases the likelihood of developing obesity and diabetes, all of which are risks for cardiovascular diseases (Balfour et al., 2015). In the same way, the majority of the American population eats unhealthy diets, which further increases the probability of getting heart diseases. Less than one percent of adults in this country meet the definition of Ideal Healthy Diet while no child corresponds to this term (American Heart Association, 2013b). Reducing sodium levels of foods and increasing the consumption of whole grains are the main challenges this population experiences. Many people now consume junk products with high levels of cholesterol and calories yet they are physically inactive (Holmes et al., 2012). Therefore, hypertension, obesity or overweight, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, and smoking are the main modifiable risk factors for heart diseases.
Progress in Prevention of Heart Disease
The prevention of heart diseases should start by adopting the necessary measures at early stages of life. Heidenreich et al. (2011, p. 936) explain that individuals who attain their middle years with optimal rates of the major risk agents have a minimal chance within their lifetime to get cardiovascular trouble. Quitting smoking and treating hypertension together with performing regular physical exercises are a condition to prevent cardiovascular issues that are comprised of heart diseases (Goff et al., 2014, p. 2940). Much has been done in this country; and the benefits should not be hidden. However, still much more should be executed. Immense efforts to reduce the dietary intake of fats in the 1960s to 1970s improved lipid levels in blood from the 1980s to 1990s. Moreover, treating high blood pressure in the 1970s and 1980s has substantially contributed to the dramatic reduction in death rates due to cardiovascular diseases (Heidenreich et al., 2011, p. 936). Such a thing shows that many efforts in addressing the risk factors among the young population will have an enormous effect on the heart troubles prevalence and incidence rates for the future older generations.
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In the State of Utah, much is being done to address heart diseases and other cardiovascular issues. In this region, the American Heart Association has formulated the Conozca Su Corazón (CSC) program helping people, especially the Hispanics, to adopt heart-healthy behaviors (American Heart Association, 2013a). It is focused on the modification of actions to achieve healthy body weight, physical activity, and healthy nutrition. The CSC program comprises of four sessions or workshops in the Utahan community locations as shown in the Appendix 4 (American Heart Association, 2013a). They include online support through social media and Heart360, heart disease health assessment, worksite wellness integration, and many other activities that enhance healthy behaviors, i.e. group walking, family soccer, and so forth. More importantly, the cost-effective program delivers the culturally sensitive knowledge to the communities.
Heart diseases are the number one killer both in Utah and the US as a whole. Millions of people live with these troubles, and many of them die annually. Furthermore, the elderly population is the most affected one because age is one of the main risk factors. In Utah, the prevalence and incidence rates are lower than those of the whole country. Smoking, physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity, eating unhealthy diets, race, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels are some other the risk agents. Some of them can be modified to enhance the prevention of heart disease. The avoidance should start early in life so as to minimize the likelihood of developing these troubles at an older age. In Utah, prevention strategies are in place just like in the US, although much more should be done. Furthermore, the CSC program has been put in place as the center of preventing occurrence of these diseases, especially in Hispanics, who are the most vulnerable layer of population.
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