February 20, 2003
ASSESSING RISK FACTORS, PROMOTING LIFESTYLE CHANGES ARE HEALTH DEPARTMENT EFFORTS TO PREVENTING STROKES
Charlotte, NC - The Mecklenburg County Health Department offers a number of programs aimed at improving cardiovascular health. These outreach and assessment programs may be part of the reason why Mecklenburg County's death rate due to stroke is lower than the North Carolina average.
Stroke is still the third leading cause of death among all Mecklenburg County residents, only behind heart disease and cancer. Similar to national trends, strokes affect the County's non-white population at a rate higher than that of whites. In 2001, 342 deaths were attributed to stroke, 122 whites and 220 non-whites.
A new national report on stroke deaths indicates that North Carolina has the fourth-highest rate of death due to stroke among persons 35 and older. The Atlas of Stroke Mortality: Racial, Ethnic and Geographic Disparities in the United States was released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But, over the last several years, the mortality rates due to stroke have been declining in North Carolina and in Mecklenburg County. Between 1999-2001, the state average is 72.3 deaths per 100,000 residents. Mecklenburg County's rate during that same period is 71.4 deaths per 100,000.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department offers risk assessment and healthy lifestyle options to recognize and prevent cardiovascular disease. The "Healthy Directions" program is offered to employers as part of the Department's Worksite Wellness Program, smoking-cessation and education programs are available through Project ASSIST and programs like ABLE-All Bodies Like Exercise, an exercise program geared toward those over 50.
According to the CDC, more than 61 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and other conditions. Many of these conditions can be reduced through risk assessment and lifestyle change.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department is working to better these statistics by promoting healthy lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, increased levels of physical activity and early risk assessment for cardiovascular disease.