A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said nearly one-fourth of deaths caused by heart disease, stroke and hypertension are preventable.
The study explained that those deaths could be avoided with better preventative health care and treatment.
The Western United States has the lowest rate of avoidable deaths, while the South has the highest. Arizona’s rate went down 3.8 percent between 2001 and 2010, matching the national average, according to the report.
While Arizona’s decrease is good, there is more that can be done, said Matthew Ritchey, an epidemiologist at the CDC, and one of the authors of the study.
“There’s still almost 4,000 of these deaths that are occurring each year so there’s still room for improvement because again, theoretically these deaths are all preventable,” Ritchey said.
Quality health care, local health initiatives and access to a healthy lifestyle are essential in lowering cardiovascular disease deaths, the report said.
“Even one of these preventable deaths is one too many,” Ritchey said.
The Milton Hearts Initiative is a national effort focused on improving health care through education, community prevention efforts, team-based care and improved health technology.
People can use the ABCs of heart health as preventative measures Ritchey said. They are: take aspirin when appropriate, manage blood pressure and cholesterol, and stop smoking.
Kayla Samoy is a University of Arizona journalism student and apprentice at Arizona Public Media.