WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. progress in preventing stroke deaths has stalled after more than four decades of decline, according to a new report released Wednesday by the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The latest CDC report found that age-standardized stroke death rates among U.S. adults older than 35 years old declined from 315.7 per 100,000 in 1968 to 73.3 per 100,000 in 2015.
However, the annual percentage change in stroke death rates changed from 2000 to 2015, from a 3.4-percent decrease per year during 2000 and 2003 to a 6.6-percent decrease per year during 2003 and 2006, a 3.1-percent decrease per year during 2006 and 2013, and a "nonsignificant" 2.5-percent increase per year during 2013 and 2015.
Overall, the stall in progress is true for three out of four U.S. states between 2000 and 2015, not just in the so-called "stroke belt," where residents have a significantly higher incidence of stroke than the rest of the U.S. population.
The CDC attributed increased numbers of Americans in stroke death to risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes as the reasons behind the slowdown.
According to the report, about 800,000 Americans now have a stroke each year and more than 140,000 die, even though about 80 percent of strokes are preventable.
"These findings are a wakeup call. We've made enormous progress in reducing stroke deaths, but that progress has stalled," CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald said in a statement.
"We know the majority of strokes are preventable, and we must improve our efforts to reduce America's stroke burden," Fitzgerald said.