Quitting smoking, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels down, and popping the odd aspirin could stop hundreds of thousands of Americans from dying unnecessarily every year. That's according to a new report by the CDC, which says 200,000 heart disease and stroke deaths each year are preventable, the LA Times reports. "These findings are really striking. We're talking about hundreds of thousands of deaths that don't have to happen," says the CDC's director. "It's possible for us to make rapid and substantial progress in reducing these deaths."
The good news from the report is that the number of these preventable deaths decreased by 29% between 2001 and 2010. The bad news is that was mostly for people aged 65-74—the percentage remains virtually unchanged for people under 65, who accounted for more than half of these deaths last year. Men were twice as likely to die of these causes as women, blacks almost twice as likely as whites, and victims are disproportionately likely to live in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Oklahoma (the CDC has an informative but depressing map on this).