According to the Colorado Public Health & Environment, 70 percent of Coloradoans pass away from a chronic illness, including: heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. In Pueblo County, as of 2015, heart and cerebrovascular disease (a disease that affects the blood vessels and arteries, often leading to stroke) are the number one and two causes of death. In 2015, 35 percent of Puebloans died of heart disease, while eleven percent died of cerebrovascular disease.
How does this compare to other cities and counties in Colorado? Pueblo, along with Huerfano, Las Animas, Baca, Prowers, Fremont, Otero, Crowley, Kiowa, and Lincoln County all rank high in deaths attributed to heart disease; while Custer and Saguache County rank slightly lower.
Heart disease has significantly and drastically gone up in the last ten years, hugely affecting the younger generations. Six out of ten people, under the age of 65, in Colorado has high blood pressure, smoke, eat a poor diet, don’t subscribe to regular exercise and/or have out of control glucose levels.
Even more alarming is the trend with childhood obesity in Colorado. In 2016, one out of four children, ages five to 14, were classified as being overweight to obese. These children are at a significant risk to have cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, fatty liver disease, breathing and joint problems.
Overall, in the state of Colorado, approximately one-fourth die of heart disease. Cancer is still the leading chronic illness, but only by a slight edge, with heart disease coming in at a faint distance, followed by chronic lower respiratory (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and any other respiratory diseases), stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and liver/cirrhosis disease.
How does Colorado compare on a national level? Similarly. If you were thinking heart disease would top the list, nationally, you were right, followed by cancer, chronic lower respiratory, stroke, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Most people, more often than not, have more than one of these diseases simultaneously, with one being the primary.
What’s the best gift you can give to those you? A gift straight from the heart, good heart health. Talk to your primary care provider or reach-out to the Colorado Heart Healthy Solutions Program (http://hearthealthysolutions.org/). Stop smoking, start moving, find ways to improve your diet, not only for you, but for your loved ones.
Gina (Paradiso) Cathcart is the director of Carecorner, Ltd., Colorado Respite Care. She is a healthcare educator, passionate about service to others and quality patient care. She can be reached at email@example.com.