NYC high heart attack rate, low stroke

Aug. 19, 2005 at 11:21 PM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Scientists don't know why New York City area residents have one of the country's highest rates of heart disease deaths, but one of the lowest for stroke.

Heart disease is more common among poor people -- but Long Island residents have some of the highest U.S. incomes, yet suffer heart disease death at a rate 20 percent above the norm, according to a review of death certificate records by the New York Times.

The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island have heart attack death rates of more than 300 per 100,000, compared with a national average of 253, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

"Part of the answer is poverty," said Dr. Lorna Thorpe, the city's deputy commissioner of health. "But it doesn't entirely explain it."

New Yorkers smoke less than average, and are less likely to be obese, but they might not get much exercise and might have higher cholesterol levels, the Times said.

One risk factor for heart attack and not stroke is blood lipids -- it is very large in heart disease and not stroke, according to researcher Dr. George Howard, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

However, researchers are also trying to determine if the elevated heart attack rate might be a coding or recordkeeping error.

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