RENO, Nev. (AP) - Coronary heart disease is by far the No. 1 killer in Washoe County with a rate that's 20 percent higher than that of Nevada as a whole, according to the District Health Department.
''In order for Washoe County to achieve the national health objective, we'll have to cut the death rate by more than half over the next 10 years,'' said Dr. Debra Brus, the department's epidemiologist.
In 1998, 151 of some 324,000 people in the county died of heart attacks while another 474 succumbed to other problems associated with coronary heart disease.
She said immense strides in the diagnosis and treatment of heart attacks have reduced the risks of premature deaths from heart disease, but county residents are not adopting healthier lifestyles that could ease their risks of developing heart problems.
As a result of the findings, health department officials are urging area health care providers to screen patients for the risk factors for coronary heart disease including smoking, excessive weight, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, high blood pressure and stress.
''It takes much more than words and statistics to get people to change their lives,'' said District Health Officer Dr. Greg Carmichael. ''However, armed with information and community support, individuals can make personal decisions that can increase the length and quality of their healthy lives.''