Why half of U.S. adults don't know heart disease is the nation's leading cause of death

The death rate from heart disease has been slowly rising in recent years in the United States. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images About half of people in the United States don’t know that the top killer in their country is heart disease. The death rate from heart disease has crept upward in recent years. Experts say slow progression, denial, and misplaced skepticism contribute to the lack of knowledge about the disease. Heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States for the past century. More than half of Americans still don’t know it. A new Harris Poll conducted for the American Heart Association reports that just 49% of adults in United States correctly identified heart disease as the nation’s number one killer. The poll, released alongside the annual statistical report , 2024 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics: A Report of U.S. and Global Data From the American Heart Association , notes that 16% of respondents said they didn’t know the nation’s leading cause of death while 18% misidentified cancer as the top cause of mortality. “Heart disease along with stroke, which is the fifth leading cause of death, claims more lives in the U.S. than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined, based on the most recent data available,” said Dr. Joseph Wu , the president of the American Heart Association, director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, and professor of medicine and radiology at the Stanford School of Medicine in California, in a press release. “So, the results of this survey, finding that most people do not know the significant impact of heart disease, is discouraging and even a bit frightening.” The report noted that the lack of awareness of heart disease mortality contrasts with the fact that nearly half of all Americans have […]

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