In the last 35 years, declining deaths from heart disease have translated into 13 million lives saved and extended. Medical treatments and lifestyle changes have dealt successfully with the serious heart problems of Vice President Richard Cheney, talk show host David Letterman, Disney-ABC CEO Michael Eisner, and countless other less famous people. In the past, those with serious heart disease would have died young, but today can live long and active lives. Few families have not benefited from improvements in the way we treat and prevent heart problems, yet we often hear that poor lifestyles and the limitations of modern medicine threaten our health and well-being. Although room for improvement always remains, this book provides evidence to the contrary: we have made and continue to make tremendous progress in dealing with heart disease.
In reviewing the progress being made in this crucially important area of health, Pampel and Pauley offer an optimistic view of the potential for continued improvement and for longer, healthier lives. Despite the prevalence of heart disease, deaths from this cause have declined greatly in past decades. From its peak in 1968, the heart disease mortality rate has fallen by 52% for men and 48% for women. That translates into over 13 million lives saved and extended. The lives saved are not limited to the very old. To the contrary, heart disease mortality has fallen faster among the young and middle aged.