Heart Disease and Stroke Workgroup

Objective Status

  • 0 Target met or exceeded
  • 2 Improving
  • 3 Little or no detectable change
  • 1 Getting worse
  • 3 Baseline only
  • 7 Developmental
  • 0 Research

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Heart Disease and Stroke Workgroup Objectives (16)

About the Workgroup

Approach and Rationale

Heart disease and stroke are among the leading causes of death in the United States. As of 2017, heart disease remains the leading cause of death, and coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease. Heart disease was listed as the underlying cause in 647,457 deaths. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death, accounting for 146,383 deaths in 2017, a significant increase from the previous year.1

Core objectives selected by the HDS Workgroup aim to reduce the death rates due to coronary heart disease and stroke. This can be achieved in part by reducing major cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as hypertension and high blood cholesterol. Additional objectives involve increasing overall cardiovascular health in adults and increasing the proportion of adults whose blood pressure is under control.

The HDS Workgroup selected 7 developmental objectives related to high-priority topic areas, including systems of care for heart attack and stroke and assessment of risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. These objectives weren’t included among the core objectives because either there is a lack of data to measure them or the available data didn’t meet the prespecified criteria of being both nationally representative and available for public use. The developmental objectives may become core objectives if appropriate data become available.

Understanding Heart Disease and Stroke

Cardiovascular diseases are an important public health issue for all racial/ethnic groups, but some populations are disproportionately affected. For example, hypertension prevalence and stroke mortality are much higher among African Americans than other groups.2

Reducing these types of disparities will require raising awareness of their impact, providing culturally appropriate preventive care, and eliminating barriers to care.

Emerging issues in Heart Disease and Stroke

After decades of steady declines, stroke rates have plateaued and even increased by some measures in recent years. For example, stroke death rates have increased among Hispanics and people living in the South since 2013. Notably, the prevalence of several cardiovascular risk factors is increasing in the United States. These risk factors, which include high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, are largely modifiable, through either healthy behaviors or medications.3




Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (June 2019). National Vital Statistics Reports: Deaths: Final Data for 2017 [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_09-508.pdf


Benjamin, E.J. et al. (Jan. 2019). Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2019 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 139(10), e56-e528. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000659


Yang, Q. et al. (Sept. 2017). Vital Signs: Recent Trends in Stroke Death Rates — United States, 2000–2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 66(35), 933-939. http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6635e1