Increase in heart failure-related deaths

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – There is some disturbing news when it comes to matters of the heart. After a recent decline in heart failure-related deaths in the U.S, there is now a reported increase.

That report was published May 14 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, what’s especially troubling about its findings is the number of younger adults falling victim to deaths associated with heart failure.

“This is basically the process of atherosclerosis. This is the plaque buildup that people have in their arteries.” It’s one of the key contributors to heart-failure related deaths which Geisinger Cardiologist Pranjal Boruah, MD explained on Tuesday. Now, a new study shows a rise in the number of Americans younger than 65 dying prematurely from heart failure.  “It is a shock but it is also something that is not unexpected,” said Dr. Boruah.

Researchers say heart failure-related deaths dropped significantly from 1999 through 2012 but then increased through 2017. “And if one of these plaques rupture then it can completely occlude the blood vessels as it’s showing here,” said Dr. Boruah.

Heart failure is the inability to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports roughly 5.7 million American adults live with it. Many are obese or overweight and need to do more than just take their medication as prescribed. Dr. Boruah said, “We always tell people you need to exercise regularly, lose the weight, control diabetes, control hypertension.”

But Dr. Boruah sees another unsettling reason fueling heart failure among a younger generation. “Drug abuse. All these have crept in.” Dr. Boruah considers the heart failure study a wake-up call for people everywhere. “It’s not uncommon any longer and we need to do something about this.”

Besides making lifestyle changes, Dr. Boruah recommends seeing your doctor regularly. Something like high blood pressure left undetected can trigger a stroke, heart attack or kidney damage.
 


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