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Aging Baby Boomers May Swamp Cardiac Care
Date:3/12/2009

dition, unlike their parents, this population has largely enjoyed the 'good life,' with a lot of surpluses that have allowed them to avoid high amounts of physical work in their workplaces and large quantities of good-tasting, high-caloric, high-fat, high-processed, sugary foods."

The combination, Lavie said, has led to more "diabesity" -- or obesity plus diabetes, both strong risk factors for heart disease. "There is no question that the medical costs that will be required to treat these man-made diseases will place a major burden on our already troubled health-care systems."

In the study, researchers compared hospitalization rates for heart attacks among people who were 45 to 64 years of age in 1980, in 1990 and in 2000. They found:

  • The number of 45- to 64-year-olds hospitalized for heart attacks was highest in 2000, but the prevalence (in essence, the percentage of that population) was highest in 1990, followed by 2000 and 1980.
  • More men than women were hospitalized for the condition in 1980, but the situation had flipped by 2000, with more women than men hospitalized.
  • More cardiac catheterization and cardiac revascularization procedures, such as angioplasty, were performed as the years progressed, with 2000 seeing the most such operations.
  • More people were discharged to their homes in 1980 than in 1990 or 2000. More people were discharged to facilities such as nursing homes in 1990 and 1980.
  • People today die less often while in the hospital than people did 10 or 20 years ago.
"I can confidently predict that the risk [for heart disease and related conditions] is increasing," Lavie said. "There was a study in the past year that showed that younger people are now having heart attacks and this is directly related with premature obesity."

More information

The American Heart Association has more on

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