Dallas County on Tuesday resolved to raise awareness about one of the leading causes of death in the county: cardiovascular disease.
The Dallas County Commissioners Court committed to “increasing awareness, speaking out about heart disease, and empowering others to reduce their risk for cardiovascular diseases” during its latest meeting on February 21.
To help build public awareness about such conditions and their contributing factors, the court recognized the month of February as American Heart Month in Dallas County in a resolution authored by Commissioner Dr. Theresa Daniel.
“According to the 2023 statistical report from the American Heart Association the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a steep rise in cardiovascular disease deaths in the U.S. Cardiovascular disease-related deaths jumped from 874,613 in 2019 to 928,741 in 2020, the largest single-year increase since 2015,” read the briefing.
The document noted that cardiovascular disease has become more prevalent among the African-American, Asian, and Hispanic communities, and its frequency has also risen among a younger population.
“High rates of obesity and high blood pressure among younger people (ages 35–64) are putting them at risk for heart disease earlier in life. Other risk factors include high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and excessive alcohol use,” read the documents.
Amid an even younger demographic, rising numbers of U.S. children and adolescents who qualify as obese recently prompted medical professionals to approve the use of obesity medication and even bariatric surgery as viable treatment options for these age groups, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
The commissioners court briefing also cited the results of the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment conducted for Dallas County. The assessment found that heart disease is the leading cause of death countywide, noting that 14% of citizens aged 65 and older are diagnosed with it.
“It is with a certain amount of sadness, awareness, and also tenacity to say that just because heart disease is one of those areas that does not appear to be improving, that does not mean that we give up on trying to address it,” said Daniel during the meeting.
The 2021 Parkland hypertension registry listed 113,623 patients who are currently afflicted, according to the briefing. Hypertension, as Parkland Health’s website states, is a “silent killer.” If left untreated, it can cause irreparable damage to the body’s blood vessels, leading to organ failure, blindness, heart attack, or stroke.
Dr. Philip Wong, director of Health and Human Services for Texas, told the court that addressing chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease is among his department’s top priorities.
“It’s the leading killer and it’s one of the highest burdens in terms of cost to our community, but many of these are preventable,” said Wong.
Wong explained that measures such as hypertension control, proper diet, obesity management, physical activity, and smoking prevention are all critical to addressing cardiovascular disease.
Commissioner John Wiley Price said during the meeting that the prevalence of non-nutritious items in the community, like fast food restaurants and dollar stores, makes unhealthy food readily accessible.
“We talk about healthy options. There are no healthy options,” claimed Price.
Commissioner Elba Garcia concurred with Price on the pervasiveness of unhealthy food, saying that fast food is “everywhere.”
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, some local neighborhoods have been qualified as “food deserts” for their lack of easy access to grocery stores offering fresh produce.
Earlier this month, the court authorized the purchase of a vehicle to be commissioned as a mobile dietary clinic in Dallas. This Wellness on Wheels program is intended to bring nutritious foods to people throughout the county. As previously reported by The Dallas Express, obesity is prevalent in communities surrounding “food deserts.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioners Price and Garcia also discussed ways to incentivize citizens’ embrace of healthier food options. Ideas included offering healthy cooking classes or expanding the availability of healthy foods through community gardens.
“It starts with learning how to eat different foods in different ways, in a healthy way,” said Garcia.
“Dallas County on Tuesday resolved to raise awareness about one of the leading causes of death in the county: cardiovascular disease.”
From something like mRNA “vaccines?” Causing an epidemic of “dying suddenly?”