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ARIC Stats

The ARIC community surveillance study monitors admissions to acute care hospitals and deaths due to coronary heart disease among all residents 35-74 years of age of the four ARIC study sites. These surveillance areas included over 360,000 men and women in four communities: Forsyth County, North Carolina; the city of Jackson, Mississippi; eight northern suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Washington County, Maryland.

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is generally an unexpected death due to a heart condition within an hour of acute symptom onset. Some individuals with SCD may have already been diagnosed with coronary heart disease (fatty buildups in the arteries of the heart that supply blood to the heart) or another heart condition. However, for other individuals with SCD this fatal event may have been their first sign. This makes identifying individuals at risk for SCD a public health priority.

This figure from Ni et al. (2009) shows the trends in the age- and gender-adjusted rates of sudden death from coronary heart disease from the four ARIC study communities between 1987 and 2004. A downward trend was seen in the number of deaths from SCD per 1000 person-years. Even though this study is unable to pin point the exact cause, this trend could be in part to recent advances in primary prevention of heart disease, the management of cardiac conditions, as well as to changes in emergency and medical service procedures after the event has occurred.

This is another example of how the ARIC community surveillance study provides researchers with the tools they need to monitor the impact of atherosclerosis in four communities across the United States. A detailed description of these results can be found in the publication by Hanyu Ni and colleagues in the American Heart Journal (2009).

Ni H, Coady S, Rosamond W, Folsom AR, Chambless L, Russell SD, Sorlie PD. Trends from 1987 to 2004 in sudden death due to coronary heart disease: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Am Heart J. 2009 Jan;157(1):46-52.
Which of the following is NOT a direct benefit of physical activity?
A. muscle endurance and flexibility
B. muscle, bone, and joint strength
C. lower cholesterol levels
D. positive influence on mental health