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Young Women, Take Care Of Your Heart!

The overall trend for heat disease death rates is positive: From 1980 through 2002, the death rate from blocked heart arteries was cut in half for men and women age above 35. For all ages, the female death rate fell to 261 from 514 per 100,000, and the male rate fell to 430 from 898 per 100,000. This is possible because of the improvements in treatment and preventive measures, including cholesterol-lowering medications.

While the health experts are happy that the heart disease death rates have been falling for decades, a new study reveals that more women under the age of 45 are dying of heart disease due to clogged arteries. Meanwhile, the death rate for men of the same age group has in fact leveled off.

These results on younger adults are pretty startling. What went wrong? Not sure, but health professionals suspect this could due to increasing rates of obesity and other risk factors. Nevertheless, whether this is the beginning of a new trend will still require further monitoring. But if the data does hold, this new findings released on November 19, 2007 on the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, may be an indication of the impact of escalating obesity and diabetes on US deaths.

The study was conducted by researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Control and Prevention and Britain's University of Liverpool. They looked at US vital statistics for artery-related deaths ages 35 and older for the years between 1980 and 2002.

When comparing the age groups, the researchers discovered worrisome results. It was found that death rate for women, ages 35 to 44, rose from 1997 to 2002 to 8.2 per 100,000 women, the highest since 1987. When translating to actual numbers, the rate means roughly 100 added deaths a year of women in that age group. Though, that is a relatively small impact on the entire US population, the results are statistically significant that requires concern. As what Dr. Wayne Giles, director of the CDCís division of adult and community health, quoted: ďThatís like an MD-88 crashing every year!Ē MD-88 is a medium-size commuter jet plane.

In comparison, the rates for men age 35 to 44 were relatively stable in the last few years of the study period. The rate was found to be 26 deaths per 100,000 men in that age group in 2002.

As we all know, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing almost 700,000 Americans each year. Nearly 500,000 of those deaths are caused by coronary heart disease (CAD). CAD occurs when fat and plaque clog the arteries that are feeding blood to the heart. Sometimes, it is also called hardening of the arteries. Heart attacks are a common result.

It normally takes many years for the arteries to get dangerously blocked. About 93 per cent of deaths occur in people 55 and older. But risk factors such as genetics, obesity and high cholesterol can actually bring the death to occur at younger ages. In 2002, about 25,000 men and 8,000 women ages 35 to 54 died of coronary heart disease.



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