Heart disease deaths can be halved : Indian American researcher Dr. Shivani Patel

Shivani A. Patel, MPH, PhD Photo of Shivani Patel Assistant Professor, Hubert Department of Global Health Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University - Photo Source - emory.edu
Shivani A. Patel, MPH, PhD Photo of Shivani Patel Assistant Professor, Hubert Department of Global Health Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University - Photo Source - emory.edu

According to new research led by Indian American Dr. Shivani Patel of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia – Half of heart disease deaths in the United States are caused by preventable factors which can be avoided and the number of deaths can be halved.

Major modifiable cardiovascular risk factors collectively accounted for half of cardiovascular deaths in U.S. adults aged 45 to 79 years in 2009 to 2010 according to the analysis.

Research showed that fatalities due to preventable risk factors like obesity and smoking etc account for 50% of the deaths and this ratio changes from state to state.

Unexpectedly, “there wasn’t a huge difference” in cardiovascular-related deaths “between best off and worst off states,” said lead author Shivani A. Patel.

To estimate how many heart disease deaths are due to preventable factors, Patel and her coauthors analyzed responses from more than 500,000 people, ages 45 to 79, to a landline phone-based behavioral risk factor survey in 2009 and 2010, as well as data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

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The researchers write in Annals of Internal Medicine that had it been possible to completely eliminate every case of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and smoking in the U.S., 54 percent of heart disease deaths among men and almost 50 percent of heart disease deaths among women in 2010 could have been prevented.

Research further showed that if every state brought levels of such risk factors down to the best level any state has so far achieved, about 5 percent of heart disease deaths would be prevented.

“Even the best states aren’t doing that well,” Patel said.

Smoking is on the decline, and obesity and diabetes may soon become the number one risk factors for cardiovascular disease, Patel said.

Health care providers should work to not only treat these risk factors, but also prevent them by intervening with patients at an early age, she said.

In 2009 and 2010, the states with the lowest levels of risk factors were in the West, like Colorado, and those with the highest levels were in the South, including Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

The study’s complete findings can be found here : http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2362308 | Cardiovascular Mortality Associated With 5 Leading Risk Factors: National and State Preventable Fractions Estimated From Survey Data

The Research Team : Dr. Shivani A. Patel, PhD; Munir Winkel, MSc; Mohammed K. Ali, MBChB; K.M. Venkat Narayan, MD; and Neil K. Mehta, PhD

About : Dr. Shivani A. Patel – Shivani Patel is a social epidemiologist who received her MPH from the University of Michigan and her PhD from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her dissertation focused on household- and community-level determinants of child neurocognitive development in the southern plains of Nepal. She prioritizes research that addresses health concerns of marginalized populations, particularly in South Asia.

Dr. Patel joined the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center as a postdoctoral fellow in 2013, and was hired as assistant professor in January 2015. Her primary project includes quantifying the contribution of modifiable risk factors to state-level disparities in cardiovascular mortality in the US. In addition, she is collaborating with EGDRC faculty to investigate socioeconomic determinants of cardiometabolic health in India, including the study of urban-rural differences in weight status across the lifecourse.

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