Decreased Prevalence of Coronary Heart Disease

The rate of coronary heart disease declined from 2001 to 2012.

Researchers have discovered that the rate of coronary heart disease (CHD) has been decreasing in patients age 40 and older.

This decline was likely the result of improved management of CHD risk factors such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, smoking, diabetes, and obesity, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The prevalence of smoking has significantly decreased from the start of the study in 2001. The rate of high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes increased during the study, but control over these conditions also improved, the researchers wrote.

Researchers included data from six 2-year National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cycles, and were able to calculate CHD prevalence. There were 21,472 patients 40 years and older included.

The researchers found that the rate of CHD decreased in adults 40 years and older from 10.3% in 2001 to 2002 to 8% in 2011 to 2012. They did not find a significant change in prevalence in patients 40- to 59-years-old, but found that prevalence decreased from 19.5% in 2001 to 2002 to 14.9% in 2001 to 2012 in patients 60 years and older, according to the study.

A significant decline was also seen in non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black patients. However, there was no decline for Mexican American patients.

Researchers also found a decline in prevalence among patients who did not finish high school, patients with higher education, and patients with health insurance.

The patients who had a decreased risk of CHD did not have coronary heart disease risk factors. There was no observed decrease in prevalence in patients with the risk factors, according to the study.

"The decreasing prevalence of CHD (including angina and MI) might result from a combination of prevention efforts and improvements in the management of risk factors," concluded lead investigator Sung Sug Yoon, PhD, RN." "Reasons for a reduction in the prevalence of CHD, angina, and MI in the lower CHD-risk groups could relate to general trends in lifestyle changes, such as improved diet, increased level of physical activity, or other factors such as prophylactic aspirin use among U.S. adults. Furthermore, anti-smoking prevention efforts have resulted in a decreased prevalence of cigarette smoking, which may have contributed to the decrease in CHD prevalence."